Definition of hard in English:



  • 1Solid, firm, and rigid; not easily broken, bent, or pierced.

    ‘the slate broke on the hard floor’
    ‘rub the varnish down when it's hard’
    • ‘The cold weather had made the ground solid and too hard for the dirt to trap footprints.’
    • ‘She sat down to the hard floor of the tunnel and sat there, thinking about what to do.’
    • ‘Make sure there are no sharp corners or hard edges where she could hurt herself.’
    • ‘When Anna awoke, she found herself back in a side room of the main lab on a rather hard bed.’
    • ‘The floor is hard, but cool and somehow the food tastes better and the conversation is lighter.’
    • ‘He handed it to Vicky who found it unexpectedly light, it looked so ornate and delicate but felt solid and hard.’
    • ‘This method can produce a wide range of products, from oily coatings to hard coatings and powders.’
    • ‘At the time, I was on my feet all day at work on a very cold, hard concrete floor.’
    • ‘Outside the night was cool and fresh, but the ground was hard and still the rains had not come.’
    • ‘My youngest daughter fell out of her high chair on to a hard floor.’
    • ‘Having made his decision, Brett turned over on the uncomfortable, hard floor, satisfied.’
    • ‘He takes a step before his eyes suddenly roll back in his head and he collapses on the hard floor.’
    • ‘Don't worry about the pears being a bit hard - they'll ripen in seconds on the grill.’
    • ‘Some may insist you sleep on mats on hard floors to straighten out the spine, but they are in a minority.’
    • ‘We finally dumped our bags on the floor and collapsed on the rock hard beds in silence.’
    • ‘Now he lay on the hard mattress of a cheap hotel, staring at the empty space next to him.’
    • ‘I lay on my back on the hard floor, moving my bag up underneath my head for a bit of comfort.’
    • ‘Some skaters prefer this for the tiny increase in control you get with very hard carbon fibre skate boots.’
    • ‘The volunteers used to sleep a dozen to a room on thin pallets laid out on the hard floor of their offices.’
    • ‘Her body lay flat against the hard mattress she had been lying in for little over a week.’
    • ‘The easiest way to crack it is to wrap it in a grocery bag and drop it on a hard floor.’
    • ‘I lay splayed out, face down on the hard floor for a minute or two, paralysed by embarrassment and surprise.’
    • ‘The pathways break down when it loses the natural, hard compact soil which keeps the path together.’
    • ‘Home for them was a cold, damp shed, with a hard concrete floor with little or no bedding.’
    • ‘Boots thudded on the hard floor as the man wearing them looked into each of the cells.’
    • ‘After all, it takes a certain commitment to pay high prices for a hard seat in a draughty theatre.’
    • ‘Wes awoke with a start when he felt something hard whack him in the stomach.’
    • ‘Breathing became difficult, her muscles shook, and she toppled to her knees on the hard floor.’
    firm, solid, dense, rigid, stiff, resistant, unbreakable, inflexible, unpliable, impenetrable, unyielding, solidified, hardened, compact, compacted, steely, tough, strong, stony, rock-like, flinty, close-packed, compressed, as hard as iron, as hard as stone
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) not showing any signs of weakness; tough.
      ‘only a handful are hard enough to join the SAS’
      • ‘Three nights in Florence and I'd become a softy and I was scared of these Southern hard men.’
      • ‘Too many times midfielders, the ultimate hard men on the pitch, were knocked off the ball.’
      • ‘Just a sniff of weakness and these hard men will grab the opportunity with both hands.’
      • ‘Many a coach must have asked their resident hard man to successfully confront Johnson, but none have managed it.’
      • ‘As I was serving the buffet the midfield hard man asked me to put Ceefax on the telly so he could see what the Scotland score was.’
      • ‘Aaron plays the lead role as a hard man who runs a garage with two friends.’
      • ‘I used to be removed from the house because I looked like a hard man whereas my wife was educated.’
      • ‘His detractors lead one to imagine Mr Carey to be the archetypal cigar-chewing hard man in a sheepskin coat.’
      • ‘He was a member of the Cadet Force and rose to the rank of sergeant with a reputation as being a hard man.’
      • ‘He's a hard man, unafraid of any opposition, and he gets other people working well and riled up.’
      • ‘This one-time military hard man has, he admits, grown attached to his home comforts.’
      • ‘What a pity it would be if the Australian debacle was to bring the hard man back to centre stage again.’
      • ‘He also recently traded in his harmonica for a role as a hard man in a television drama.’
      • ‘If he played on the right he came up against notorious hard man Tommy Banks.’
      • ‘She is forced to be hard and stick to her decisions, but she is always fair.’
      • ‘You want to know what his hard men who had done well out of Napoleon and the Bourbon Restoration might look like?’
      • ‘He's obviously no pushover, but I think he probably needs someone to be the hard man at his side.’
      • ‘We have hard men on our team who will always go for the ball.’
      • ‘Vince is a hard player, a good talker, and unlike most good talkers, is a most positive doer.’
      • ‘If you look at the nature of people involved in gangs in Scotland, a lot of them would be regarded as being very hard people.’
      • ‘They elected the hard man, the sheriff who would give them the best protection.’
    2. 1.2 (of prices of shares, commodities, etc.) high and stable; firm.
      • ‘It is a company built on hard assets.’
      • ‘Since nearly 70% of hard stock is tightly held and not available for sale at the moment, that leaves a very small number of hard shares available.’
      • ‘Examples of hard commodities include platinum, copper and oil.’
      • ‘In uncertain times, investors usually prefer the certainty of hard money.’
  • 2Done with a great deal of force or strength.

    ‘a hard whack’
    • ‘The police asked me if the child had fallen or received a hard blow to the injured area of her head.’
    • ‘I had grown angry and pursued him in a fit of fury when he had rejoined his family and given him a hard blow to his head, that is for a two year old.’
    • ‘The next hard blow to the head could be fatal, they said, and he must not fight again.’
    • ‘He gave Tyler a rather hard slap on the back that made him nearly fall over the counter.’
    • ‘Buddy cuffed Roy on the head, slapped a small shovel in his hands, and gave him a hard shove.’
    • ‘He reached for the knife from his father's wooden box and struck two hard blows into his stomach.’
    • ‘We chose to sit on a comfortable settee rather than on hard chairs or impractical looking stools.’
    • ‘Ichiru choked for a second, and Watz gave him a hard whack on his back before it would go down.’
    • ‘It then made several very long hard runs forcing me to give line and then play it back.’
    • ‘Josh ran over to Alex who had just given me a really hard blow to the cheek bone.’
    • ‘Danny had forced a hard kiss onto her roughly and now, he was standing there shocked.’
    • ‘Not once did the woman utter a sound, any cry of pain, she simply stood there, flinching when a hard blow came down on her.’
    • ‘As he was doing so he felt a hard blow to the side of his face and then another to the top of his head, he told the court.’
    • ‘He had reluctantly left, returned and then hit Mohammed Akbar a hard blow on the head with a baseball bat.’
    • ‘He said softly while he caressed the side of my face that was still hurting from his hard blow.’
    • ‘Daryl immediately released her and stepped back like he had received a hard blow in the chest.’
    • ‘If he does anything tricky just give him a good hard whack with these here gauntlets.’
    • ‘The attack involved several hard blows to the side of the head and being punched in the face, according to Mr Dixon.’
    forceful, heavy, strong, sharp, smart, violent, powerful, vigorous, mighty, hefty, tremendous
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  • 3Requiring a great deal of endurance or effort.

    ‘airship-flying was pretty hard work’
    ‘it's hard for drummers these days’
    with infinitive ‘she found it hard to believe that he could be involved’
    • ‘The planting involved a great deal of hard work from our volunteers.’
    • ‘She still found it hard to believe that he had survived the fire with just a small amount of injuries.’
    • ‘Searching for new wrecks requires patience and sometimes hard choices.’
    • ‘Quite what effect his outbursts are having on his daughter is hard to imagine.’
    • ‘Now that the damage is setting in, she tires easily and finds it hard to fight off common infections.’
    • ‘It is not only hard physical work that makes people exhausted, stress has a similar effect.’
    • ‘She also said the uncertainty of the past week had been very hard to deal with.’
    • ‘So looking at the big picture, it is hard to see why prices should rise at all.’
    • ‘I find this very hard to answer and the reason is that almost anything is possible now.’
    • ‘I think if someone has never experienced depression or that depth of emotional despair it can be hard to comprehend.’
    • ‘It takes determination, overtime and hard graft, but there is nothing like starting your own business.’
    • ‘A team-builder, he has a huge appetite for hard work, but can always break off for a laugh or a joke’
    • ‘People say that it takes ten years of hard study to prepare for a career and love.’
    • ‘Looking at Julia as she cuddles her beautiful young daughter, it's hard to believe how different life used to be.’
    • ‘In order to be successful with your career or your hobby, you have to put a lot of effort and hard work into it.’
    • ‘It's a body of thinking and writing whose limits are exceedingly hard to define.’
    • ‘To be a successful President is hard enough without having to spend the majority of the year playing catch up.’
    • ‘It was hard to resist the temptation to eat the oranges as fast as we picked them.’
    • ‘Sorting out serious debt can be a long hard slog and their support is often invaluable.’
    • ‘However, all the hard work is still to come when we fully open to the public.’
    arduous, strenuous, tiring, fatiguing, exhausting, wearying, back-breaking, gruelling, heavy, laborious
    difficult, puzzling, perplexing, baffling, bewildering, mystifying, knotty, thorny, ticklish, problematic, enigmatic, complicated, complex, intricate, involved, tangled, insoluble, unfathomable, impenetrable, incomprehensible, unanswerable
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    1. 3.1 Putting a lot of energy into an activity.
      ‘he'd been a hard worker all his life’
      ‘everyone has been hard at work’
      • ‘A woodpecker had himself a nice fat acorn, and he was hard at work to crack it open.’
      • ‘The Berkeley team and others are now hard at work looking at the chemistry of elements 107 and above.’
      • ‘Lekota said the government and the defence force were hard at work to reduce the infection rate.’
      • ‘We're hard at work on a new show for White Cube, run by the lovely Jay Jopling.’
      • ‘By the time they got back round the harbour, three men were already hard at work.’
      • ‘They were hard at work heading over the cruelly steep hill that would take them into Denholme then home.’
      • ‘Hermance was a strong willed person and a hard worker with good organizational skills.’
      • ‘That is why scientists in York are hard at work on developing a new type of packaging that can be composted.’
      • ‘Gritting teams were hard at work today clearing routes but some councils were accused of leaving it too late.’
      diligent, hard-working, industrious, sedulous, assiduous, conscientious, energetic, keen, enthusiastic, zealous, earnest, persevering, persistent, unflagging, untiring, indefatigable
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    2. 3.2 Difficult to bear; causing suffering.
      ‘times were hard at the end of the war’
      ‘he'd had a hard life’
      • ‘He had a very hard life, did all the difficult jobs working-class men do.’
      • ‘The lifestyle of peasants in Medieval England was extremely hard and harsh.’
      • ‘It is a very hard and difficult life when a child in the family is autistic.’
      • ‘The club is hoping for a better second half to the season but life is hard because of the financial restraints.’
      • ‘Sinatra was born into hard times, the son of Italian immigrants, in Hoboken, New Jersey.’
      • ‘She had endured an extremely hard life.’
      • ‘Although conditions were hard the system was well established and functioned for years.’
      • ‘I have the greatest sympathy with those on hard times as I have experienced that myself.’
      • ‘It is her ability to deal with the hard times that her son-in-law so admires.’
      • ‘This is a very hard blow to take, as you can imagine, but in the police service one has to expect the unexpected.’
      • ‘No doubt the ban has been a hard blow to some parts of the hospitality industry.’
      • ‘And going to jail this time I had a really hard time, I've been to jail a few times but this last time was bad.’
      • ‘Talya was the most vulnerable and she had a very hard time. She bore the brunt of her mum's anger.’
      • ‘David Frederick was the big brother I never got as a kid, and so losing him was a hard blow.’
      • ‘Some time later he experienced hard times and was forced to sell some of his land.’
      • ‘People were having hard times, relationship difficulties, and it does rub off on you.’
      • ‘Relaxation helps you to build energy that can be called upon to get you through hard times.’
      • ‘So it's up to you to show that a squirrel knows about winter, and hard times ahead, when it buries nuts.’
      • ‘They were on the whole extremely sympathetic to the hard lives which most of their readers led.’
      • ‘It's great for Roger because he's had a hard time since he suffered a horrendous injury last season.’
      • ‘But they hope to supplement their income with winnings when times are hard, too.’
      • ‘Even reproducing artists are beginning to sense the hard times ahead.’
      • ‘They have worked in hard conditions with poor weather and yet they have done wonderful work.’
      harsh, grim, difficult, bad, bleak, dire, tough, austere, unpleasant, disagreeable, uncomfortable, intolerable, unendurable, unbearable, insupportable
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    3. 3.3 Difficult to understand or solve.
      ‘this is a really hard question’
    4. 3.4 Not showing sympathy or affection; strict.
      ‘he can be such a hard taskmaster’
      • ‘She snatched the boy by his collar on his tunic, and half-dragged him the rest of the way up the hill, her face hard.’
      • ‘Gilbert is a hard taskmaster, but Murray certainly knew that before they got together.’
      • ‘He has been portrayed in some quarters as a hard taskmaster who doesn't suffer fools gladly.’
      • ‘Not only is it a hard taskmaster, insatiable in the demands it makes on its followers, it often saves the best till last.’
      • ‘Many liken him to a stern Victorian mill owner but there is a soft centre lurking within the hard exterior.’
      • ‘Taylor considers himself to be something of a hard taskmaster but he has been delighted with the response of his players.’
      • ‘His voice was hard and harsh, strict and stern.’
      • ‘He is said by colleagues to be a hard taskmaster who does not tolerate failure.’
      • ‘He seemed a hard taskmaster, but he did it all for what he saw to be the ultimate good.’
      strict, harsh, firm, severe, stern, tough, rigorous, demanding, exacting, unkind, unfriendly, unsympathetic, cold, heartless, hard-hearted, cold-hearted, unfeeling, intransigent, unbending, uncompromising, inflexible, intolerant, implacable, stubborn, obdurate, unyielding, unrelenting, unsparing, lacking compassion, grim, ruthless, merciless, oppressive, tyrannical, pitiless, callous, cruel, vicious, unjust, unfair
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    5. 3.5 (of a season or the weather) severe.
      ‘it's been a long, hard winter’
      • ‘If the rains are too hard, young plants and seedlings can be washed away.’
      • ‘A hard rain while the vines are flowering will knock the blooms off the plant and reduce the size of the crop.’
      • ‘In times gone by, a big year for berries was regarded as an indicator of a hard winter ahead but this it is not always the case.’
      • ‘Experts at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh had been fearing a hard winter.’
      • ‘After a very hard winter with huge amounts of snow the season had been expected to get under way later than usual.’
      • ‘Certainly the winters can be hard - but by all accounts not as bad as in the old days!’
      • ‘Eiswein is made from grapes left on the vines until the first hard frost of winter.’
      • ‘That's far too organised and impractical for us, though, as we have a long hard winter to get through.’
      • ‘If the concrete has not set and the rain is hard or the slope is steep, nobody will be happy.’
      • ‘I could hear debris hitting the house and the rain was so hard I was sure we were in for a flood.’
      • ‘Two rhododendrons were about to bloom in the governor's garden, which looked as if it had survived a hard winter.’
      • ‘They say the crows nested twice this year as there will be no food to feed the young next spring due to the hard weather.’
      • ‘All the bees had died and I had to build it up from scratch from one queen that survived a hard winter.’
      • ‘It could be a long, hard winter for people who rely on home heating oil to stay warm.’
      • ‘They grow big and can often be caught in all weathers, even in hard winter conditions.’
      • ‘This can mean the difference between life and death during a hard winter.’
      • ‘But there are two things that should be pointed out to those who really know about hard winters.’
      • ‘During the first hard winters, the more delicate settlers had a smaller chance of staying alive.’
      • ‘Those words may have to console the goalkeeper through a long, hard winter.’
      • ‘It is a time characterised by a lack of vitamins in the human body after a hard winter.’
      bitterly cold, cold, bitter, harsh, severe, extreme, bleak, freezing, icy, icy-cold, arctic, polar, siberian, glacial
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    6. 3.6 Harsh or unpleasant to the senses.
      ‘the hard light of morning’
      • ‘We drive for a while and suddenly there is a loud, hard noise, and people run in all directions.’
      • ‘Looking out over this parched, shimmering landscape in the cold hard light of morning it's a miracle that anything survives here at all.’
      • ‘The church basement is cold and hard morning light breaks through high windows.’
      • ‘Then there you are in the broken temple on top, in the hard sunshine, looking down on the world.’
      • ‘The house is cold and the car is cold and everything is cold, bright, hard and vacant.’
      harsh, grim, difficult, bad, bleak, dire, tough, austere, unpleasant, disagreeable, uncomfortable, intolerable, unendurable, unbearable, insupportable
      View synonyms
    7. 3.7 (of wine) harsh or sharp to the taste, especially because of tannin.
      • ‘If your wine is too hard, too tannic, too acidic, snap the pouring unit onto your bottle, pour the wine through it, and it will be altered into a better state by the magnets inside.’
      • ‘A hard wine has not aged enough to achieve a proper balance.’
      • ‘Too much tannin and the wine is hard and earthy.’
  • 4(of information) reliable, especially because based on something true or substantiated.

    ‘hard facts about the underclass are maddeningly elusive’
    • ‘The officer added that it was difficult for the police to name suspects now due to lack of hard evidence.’
    • ‘It takes a special kind of mindset to be this delusional in the face of cold, hard facts.’
    • ‘Yet today those interest rate cuts were interpreted as hard proof that things must be bad.’
    • ‘I, for one, would need a lot more hard information before I could make my mind up about it.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, hard proof that he ordered the hijackings may never come to light.’
    • ‘But there appears to be little hard evidence of pupils failing to turn up for the second paper.’
    • ‘There were constant rumours of further waves but there was no hard information as we had no radio or TV.’
    • ‘He urged investors to make their decisions based on hard information and not rumors.’
    • ‘There is also no hard evidence to suggest that the UK economy will suffer because of a future skills shortage.’
    • ‘You couldn't actually put any real hard facts in this article could you?’
    • ‘The kinds of stories that go on the front page of newspapers are hard news.’
    • ‘But there is no hard evidence that he ever met Richard, let alone searched for him across Europe.’
    • ‘They both treated it in a clinical way, making sure to get the cold, hard facts reported.’
    • ‘We pointed out that this did not amount to hard evidence and that there could be other explanations for what we saw.’
    • ‘When and how will they begin to retract their unambiguous presentation of the story as hard news?’
    • ‘They realised we had hard evidence on what was happening and they promised to cooperate.’
    • ‘It is only a failure if we think that individuals should be detained on mere assertions and not on hard proof.’
    • ‘I think the time has come to stop playing around and to seek out some hard information.’
    • ‘But you really need to have hard proof of some sort if you wanted those theories to stick.’
    • ‘Of course, the papers were rife with opinion and speculation but cold hard facts were thin on the ground.’
    reliable, definite, true, actual, confirmed, undeniable, indisputable, unquestionable, verifiable
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    1. 4.1 (of a subject of study) dealing with precise and verifiable facts.
      ‘efforts to turn psychology into hard science’
      • ‘But how far should we go to smuggle hard subjects into the minds of disaffected youth?’
      • ‘With so little good hard science on the BBC it's a pity to see a good chunk of the budget go on something so lightweight.’
      • ‘The hard sciences, for example, are at the cutting edge of economic development.’
      • ‘This makes him sound like Borges or Calvino, and in a sense he is, but with hard science to back him up.’
      • ‘There remains a common criticism that economics lacks the rigor to classify it as a hard science.’
    2. 4.2 Denoting an extreme or dogmatic faction within a political party.
      ‘the hard left’
      • ‘There are local Liberals who say her own hard right faction was to blame.’
      • ‘Thankfully, the moderate wing of the party split from the hard left and the Falklands War took care of the rest.’
      • ‘Independents can be of the anti-war left, but others come from the populist hard right.’
      • ‘Immediately after the armistice was signed an election in Paris returned a hard right government.’
      • ‘He declares that he does not want to interpret her international activities within a hard left framework.’
    3. 4.3 (of science fiction) dealing with technological advances which do not contravene currently accepted scientific laws or principles.
      ‘a hard SF novel’
      • ‘I do read a lot of sci-fi novels. There are two types: hard sci-fi and soft sci-fi.’
      • ‘My scientific background consists of a few relevant Carl Sagan books and hard sci-fi novels.’
      • ‘The great exponents of hard SF in its heyday of the 1950s were Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.’
      • ‘He has crafted more realistic versions of the cast that are much more appropriate for the series' hard sci-fi background.’
      • ‘This isn't a movie for fans of hard science fiction.’
  • 5Strongly alcoholic; denoting a spirit rather than beer or wine.

    • ‘This is by far the best method ever of guaranteeing you get hard liquor into pretty much any event.’
    • ‘You can't drown problems in hard alcohol.’
    • ‘Beer is consumed as a typical light alcoholic beverage, while rum is the hard liquor of choice.’
    • ‘I try to stay away from hard liquor as I get started and don't know when to stop.’
    • ‘My daughter is not used to hard drink.’
    • ‘I don't drink hard liquor anymore, it drives me insane with rage and I've ended up in jail too many times.’
    • ‘There are eight others, passing around a bottle of hard liquor.’
    • ‘The forecast down Cancun way is positively sizzling and we have hard liquor and a Jacuzzi in our room, so the outlook is sunny.’
    • ‘Start guzzling hard liquor right off the bat and the binge is over before it started.’
    • ‘She prepares a cup with far more hard liquor than punch and returns to Frank's side.’
    • ‘He offered it to her and when she took a swig the hard liquor burned down her throat.’
    • ‘You can mix wine with beer and beer with hard liquor but not wine with hard liquor.’
    • ‘Instead of hard spirits he was going to be downing shot glasses full of beer.’
    alcoholic, strong, intoxicating, inebriating, stiff, potent, spirituous, vinous, intoxicant
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    1. 5.1 (of a drug) potent and addictive.
      • ‘We need a quantum leap in treatment and rehabilitation of young hard drug addicts.’
      • ‘It is true that nearly all users of hard drugs have previously used cannabis.’
      • ‘Every recreational hard drug conceivable is washed down with booze, both bought and stolen.’
      • ‘We are also determined to break the link between crime and hard drugs.’
      • ‘Police chiefs insist they are winning the war on hard drugs by concentrating on the upper end of the narcotics crime scale.’
      • ‘There is weight to the argument that cannabis use leads to a greater chance of becoming involved with hard drugs.’
      • ‘The extra officers will mean a harder life for those who deal in heroin and other hard drugs, he said.’
      • ‘There is fear its use will spread among the thousands of hard drug addicts in Dublin.’
      • ‘Large quantities of soft drugs and hard drugs were found in the car of the eldest brother.’
      • ‘A main reason for the change is that it is hoped it will free up police to concentrate on hard drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine.’
      • ‘We know that many of those addicted to hard drugs commit a large proportion of property crime.’
      • ‘A grandad has claimed he has been labelled a dealer in hard drugs by a police leaflet campaign.’
      • ‘For me a drug is a drug, no matter what, and soft drugs lead on to hard drugs.’
      • ‘Would you want a violent criminal using hard drugs living next to you and your kids?’
      • ‘Lindsay recently admitted she would never try hard drugs after seeing how they affected her father.’
      • ‘I had a rough time and started drinking again; it wasn't long before I was back on hard drugs.’
      • ‘The court heard that he threw the stash of hard drugs out of the window when police called at the home of a friend on the Pewsham Estate.’
      • ‘Think of the resources that could instead go into reducing the use and distribution of hard drugs.’
      • ‘A year later she said she came under the influence of her old friends and started taking hard drugs again.’
      • ‘The father-of-two, who had become involved with hard drugs, died from a gunshot wound to the chest.’
      addictive, habit-forming, causing dependency
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    2. 5.2 (of radiation) highly penetrating.
      • ‘I would think you'd need hard radiation to initiate the cascade, but that the decay product would be softer.’
      • ‘While travelling through a medium, hard radiation produces charged particles.’
      • ‘There's no air, there's hard radiation, there's poison in the ground below you and of course, it's between 100 and 150 degrees below in centigrade.’
    3. 5.3 (of pornography) highly obscene and explicit.
      • ‘There is a hard porn channel on the TV in the communal area of the hotel.’
      • ‘The film was never shown in Britain, where hard pornography was banned in cinemas, though plenty of people saw it on pirate videos at home.’
      • ‘Like other addictions, addiction to pornography reaches a point when even ‘hard’ pornography is not enough to produce the excitement the addict wants.’
  • 6(of water) containing relatively high concentrations of dissolved calcium and magnesium salts, which make lathering difficult.

    ‘hard water requires much more soap, shampoo, or detergent than soft water’
    • ‘The dissolved salts in hard water have a similar effect, so soft water is advised.’
    • ‘However, the water was so hard that it could be used only for washing and cleaning purposes.’
    • ‘Moving from house to house to house, from area to area, I noticed how hard water and soft water affect the skin on my face.’
    • ‘I live in a hard water area and am concerned about the build-up of scale in the central heating system.’
    • ‘Hard water is not a health hazard, but dealing with hard water in the home can be a nuisance.’
  • 7(of the penis, clitoris, or nipples) erect.

    1. 7.1 (of a man) having an erect penis.
  • 8Phonetics
    (of a consonant) pronounced as a velar plosive (as c in cat, g in go).

    • ‘Have you ever noticed how all the truly bigoted expressions are blessed with hard consonants?’
    • ‘Consonants are hard unless they are followed by a soft vowel.’
    • ‘Even their name has no hard consonant sounds.’
    • ‘Of course I knew the title of the anthem, but I have never been able to pronounce it: too many hard consonants in succession for my Latin vocal cords.’
    • ‘The shorter word with a hard consonant at it's face seemed most fitting.’


  • 1With a great deal of effort.

    ‘they work hard at school’
    • ‘You might get an even lower price if you bargain hard or are staying for a while.’
    • ‘He's been training so hard and we're all really proud of the effort he's making.’
    • ‘They worked hard all week and it was a great all-round team effort to win it.’
    • ‘The mayor also urged the children to study hard to prove that they deserved the scholarships.’
    • ‘It's an event I would dearly love to win again and I'll be trying hard this time round.’
    • ‘But they are all working very hard in the gym.’
    • ‘I've worked and studied hard for my success, and know what's it's like to live on meagre funds.’
    • ‘Every activist should fight hard to build the biggest possible vote against the deal.’
    • ‘The teachers in this program are working hard to make sense of this mess, but the obstacles are great.’
    • ‘I think that the committee worked very hard to put in a provision that was fair to everyone.’
    • ‘The city tries its best to be considerate to these students, who have studied hard for years.’
    • ‘Though working hard for the police force, Allison also found the time to give back to the community in her spare moments.’
    • ‘The kids are putting in the effort, working hard, but are being short-changed.’
    • ‘With the election set to take place on Thursday of this week, Labour and the Lib Dems have been campaigning hard.’
    • ‘The match was hard fought with chances being missed by both sides.’
    • ‘He concentrated on his studies and worked hard because he wanted to get a good job.’
    • ‘Half of the peasants were forced to work hard and were charged with a variety of obligations.’
    • ‘Laura fought hard to breathe deeply and not panic.’
    • ‘Basically back then, all I really needed to do was study hard and ensure that I got good grades.’
    • ‘My sister is studying very hard, but still has not passed her university entrance exams.’
    diligently, industriously, assiduously, conscientiously, sedulously, busily, intensely, enthusiastically, energetically, earnestly, persistently, doggedly, steadily, indefatigably, untiringly, all out, with application, with perseverance
    with difficulty, with effort, after a struggle, painfully, arduously, laboriously
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 With a great deal of force; violently.
      ‘it was raining hard’
      • ‘It started blowing really hard, so we had to suspend operations for the day.’
      • ‘When the wind and rain blew hard they were forced to use all their strength just to keep from going overboard.’
      • ‘My dad got up from his chair and slapped me hard across the face.’
      • ‘It had been a glorious day, with the sun beating down hard and only a light wind on the loch.’
      • ‘Instead Brian grabbed me by my shirt and shoved me hard against the wall.’
      • ‘He hit Nicole so hard he fractured three ribs and ruptured her spleen.’
      • ‘The wind was blowing quite hard, but there wasn't any rain coming from the total cloud cover.’
      • ‘The guard was hit so hard that the blow left a dent on his safety helmet.’
      • ‘His intensity is really appreciable and he hits the ball extremely hard.’
      • ‘Charlie tried to lift her head to look at the house but the wind was blowing too hard for her to do so.’
      • ‘The car hit the kerb so hard the wheels were ripped off and split in two.’
      • ‘The girl nodded at Simon and punched him so hard he was forced into one of the dirt walls.’
      • ‘For the moment I had to content myself with hitting him quite hard with my tennis racquet.’
      • ‘He quickly snatched the collar of Steven's shirt and shoved him hard against the wall.’
      • ‘He hit the ground incredibly hard and shattered both his legs but was otherwise unharmed aside from some bruising.’
      • ‘Before he could react, she punched him hard in the stomach.’
      • ‘I remember that, when the wind blew hard, it sounded almost as if somebody was crying.’
      • ‘Quickly I dropped to one knee and punched him hard in his chest before he could stand.’
      • ‘I throw my right hand out instinctively and whack it hard against the side of the door.’
      • ‘Once I did recover I pulled back and slapped him hard across the face.’
      forcefully, forcibly, fiercely, roughly, powerfully, strongly, strenuously, heavily, sharply, vigorously, intensely, energetically, with all one's might, with might and main, with vigour, with force, with great effort
      heavily, strongly, intensely, in torrents, in sheets, cats and dogs
      severely, badly, intensely, harshly, acutely, deeply, keenly, seriously, profoundly, violently, forcefully, grievously, gravely
      View synonyms
  • 2So as to be solid or firm.

    ‘the mortar has set hard’
    • ‘Everything is frozen hard and the snow lies on the ground all the time.’
    • ‘There have been nights where there was sweat on my towel which has frozen rock hard while I've been training.’
    • ‘This was a material that once it set hard would not soften under heat.’
    • ‘He was lying on his back with the rope around his waist stretched tightly to where it disappeared into snow that was now set hard as concrete.’
    • ‘With the ground baked hard by the hot weather of the previous few days, there was nowhere for the water to go.’
  • 3To the fullest extent possible.

    ‘put the wheel hard over to starboard’
    • ‘Most drivers were taught to pump the brakes and turn hard to the right or left in order to compensate for skidding.’
    • ‘He heeled the car hard over to the right.’
    • ‘It hit with a deafening roar, punching the ship sideways so violently that it rolled hard over to port.’
    hard, as hard as possible, for all one's worth, vigorously, with a vengeance, to the utmost, to the full, to the limit, all out
    View synonyms


  • A road leading down across a foreshore.

    • ‘At the Common Hard he was joined by Mr. Godwin, the friend and associate of his youth.’
    • ‘Where hards form part of a name they often do so in combination with an adjective or a person's name.’
    • ‘Although The Hard is not a designated town centre it is recognised as a specialist retail and leisure area.’


  • be hard on

    • 1Treat or criticize (someone) severely.

      ‘you're being too hard on her’
      • ‘Critics have been hard on what they believe to be unnecessary extravagance during a time of war.’
      • ‘‘As you progress,’ Jenas reflects, ‘you look back and see why people were hard on you.’’
      • ‘But Nolan says the critics have been hard on his fellow Liverpudlian.’
      • ‘He was hard on Franka, harder on her than anyone he had ever instructed.’
      • ‘It was more difficult than before to be hard on her.’
      • ‘He could be vile to his dancers and Sally was hard on me.’
      • ‘If it appears that I'm being hard on men, it is because I think I must.’
      • ‘It's always difficult to be hard on someone you love.’
      • ‘He was a severe looking man who was known to be hard on his students.’
      • ‘I was very effeminate as a child and my mother was hard on me for it, which left me with scars that I'm still working through.’
    • 2Be difficult for or unfair to.

      ‘it was hard on her, because she had to walk nearly a mile out of her way’
      • ‘Dealing with a troubled sibling is hard on the whole family.’
      • ‘That must have been hard on the daughter when the mother is with someone you hate.’
      • ‘It was hard on the kids because they like to spend time with Steve.’
      • ‘‘I'm concerned about being away from my family and it is hard on them.’
      • ‘It must have been hard on her to have to watch someone else doing her job and on top of that doing it badly, but she never said anything about it.’
      • ‘It must be hard on her, because, if I know her, she'll be feeling responsible for her actions.’
      • ‘You went through those couple of months that must have been hard on you and your family.’
      • ‘For those of non-western cultures, the difficulty in getting a job is hard on them not only economically, but also psychologically.’
      • ‘My mother was a teacher, so she basically had to redo her qualifications, and Dad did a lot of travelling, so it was hard on her.’
      • ‘His mother died… that must have been hard on him.’
    • 3Be likely to hurt or damage.

      ‘the monitor flickers, which is hard on the eyes’
      • ‘Now I've changed the colour scheme, since some people mentioned that a white-on-dark design was hard on their eyes.’
      • ‘Since the magazine steel is very hard, cutting was hard on tools until they found a shop that could do it with a laser.’
      • ‘Seaside salt wind is hard on its façades; its weather-beaten face is always in need of another coat of slap.’
      • ‘Yet the work was hard on her hands, which bled regularly from cuts of the knives and grinder.’
      • ‘Several members had a go at plaiting straw with good results but said it was hard on the fingers.’
      • ‘My family thinks that it is a good profession, but difficult, because it is hard on your body.’
      • ‘Flying is hard on your body and you have to make sure you're getting your rest, getting your fluids, and taking care of yourself.’
      • ‘It must have been hard on the hands. ‘Not really,’ says Brooks, ‘it was the changing gear that could hurt.’’
      • ‘Hanging on to the vine was hard on the hands and often produced blisters, despite the fact that our hands were well hardened with farm work.’
      • ‘Formic acid, for example, must be handled with care and can be hard on some equipment.’
  • be hard put (to it)

    • usually with infinitiveFind it very difficult.

      ‘you'll be hard put to find a better compromise’
      • ‘He said: ‘I would be hard put to find anyone else equal to his incredible ability.’’
      • ‘You would, it's true, be hard put to find a half-decent politician who didn't think himself or herself the answer to the country's problems.’
      • ‘I think anyone, including myself, would be hard put to predict or even find a pattern.’
      • ‘Children from a number of schools turned up in large numbers, and the volunteers were hard put to regulate the enthusiastic visitors.’
      • ‘But one would be hard put to find a single article on poverty or unemployment in mainstream Indian newspapers in the past decade or more.’
      • ‘Adam was hard put to gain control of his horse and regroup the cattle before they scattered again.’
      • ‘If he means to stand, he would be hard put to find enough MPs to sign his card.’
      • ‘You'd be hard put to it to find more friendly and welcoming people anywhere.’
      • ‘In the second world war, the shortage of paper meant that publishers were hard put to stay in business.’
      • ‘Angry Christmas shoppers were hard put to find a space to park and ended up using every nook and cranny in the town centre to park their cars.’
  • give someone a hard time

    • informal Deliberately make a situation difficult for someone.

      • ‘Frank has been giving me a hard time for months about going to see her, because apparently every time he runs in to her she is just about in tears because I haven't visited.’
      • ‘He's a giant of a man and if you don't concentrate against him, he can give you a hard time.’
      • ‘The boys are giving me a hard time about all the publicity I'm getting.’
      • ‘One of the guests began giving me a hard time about the shirt.’
      • ‘If the media's giving you a hard time, don't complain about it publicly.’
      • ‘When his turn comes, the workers will not give him a hard time or cause him trouble.’
      • ‘He tells of one election meeting in Bristol on a steaming summer evening where one particular heckler was giving him a hard time.’
      • ‘Meanwhile my son is giving me a hard time for supporting the Australian cricketers.’
      • ‘She treads a very fine line - the boss gives her a hard time and the boys give her a hard time, so she's sometimes in a no-win situation.’
      • ‘They are people who do what is right when others give them a hard time for their beliefs.’
      annoy, irritate, infuriate, anger, incense, inflame, enrage, irk, chagrin, exasperate, madden, pique, provoke, nettle, disturb, upset, perturb, discompose, put out
      View synonyms
  • go hard with

    • dated Turn out to (someone's) disadvantage.

      ‘it would go hard with the poor’
      • ‘And if it goes hard with me, I will stand it, and I will cling to my logic, and I will bear it like a man.’
      • ‘One of the two men had again prowled about the neighborhood and told him that unless he managed to get the boy away that night it would go hard with him.’
      • ‘Should such a creature encounter a swimming man it would go hard with the man.’
      • ‘Cutting a helpless throat, even when it belonged to scum like this, went hard with him.’
      • ‘One of the things that goes hard with Hetty in the trial is that she at first refuses to give her identity and obdurately denies that she ever had a baby, let alone killed it.’
  • hard and fast

    • (of a rule or a distinction made) fixed and definitive.

      ‘there are no hard and fast rules about that’
      • ‘Readers are apt to assume a hard and fast distinction between novel and romance.’
      • ‘One of the few hard and fast rules of comedy is that puppets are always funny.’
      • ‘In the few days he had been in the country, he had learned some very hard and fast rules.’
      • ‘The hours either side of dawn and dusk are generally the best, although this is not a hard and fast rule.’
      • ‘I don't think there should be any hard and fast rules about this issue.’
      • ‘As far as age limits are concerned, there are no hard and fast rules.’
      • ‘Yet that rule isn't always as hard and fast as it would seem and sometimes actually demands to be broken.’
      • ‘Like all rules governing taxation, the categories are never hard and fast.’
      • ‘The programme is mainly aimed at secondary school students, but there are no hard and fast rules and a number of primaries also take part.’
      • ‘If a child is bright they will learn quicker than another child but there are no hard and fast rules.’
      definite, fixed, set, strict, rigid, binding, stringent, rigorous, clear-cut, cast-iron, established, inflexible, immutable, unalterable, invariable, unvarying, unchangeable, unchanging, incontestable, incontrovertible, uncompromising
      View synonyms
  • hard at it

    • informal Busily working or occupied.

      ‘they were hard at it with brooms and mops’
      • ‘We're hard at it, and we're making good progress.’
      • ‘Just because I appear to be idle does not mean I am not hard at it.’
      • ‘There are undoubtedly a few Irish players, not to mention the coach himself, who could do without this trip to South Africa given that they've been hard at it now for almost 12 months.’
      • ‘They were still hard at it when I finally realised that I was surplus to requirements.’
      • ‘By 2004 you will be hard at it on the seniors circuit, both in Europe and the US and will have lost a lot of contact with the players.’
      • ‘On a sunlit morning, she is already hard at it in a corner of the old downtown premises of local fashion designer Tanya Carlson, where she's trying to finish up some work.’
      • ‘She's been hard at it since, working with Amnesty International and others to organise a public meeting.’
      • ‘He's been hard at it since March, and the results have been positive.’
      • ‘The cast are hard at it with practising and preparation.’
      • ‘Having been hard at it all the morning trying to cram a day's work into a few hours, I decided that a cup of coffee would be a great pick me up.’
      occupied, occupied in, engaged in, involved in, employed in, working at, labouring at, toiling at, slaving at, hard at work, hard at work on, wrapped up, wrapped up in, wrapped up with
      View synonyms
  • hard by

    • Close to.

      ‘he lived hard by the cathedral’
      • ‘While I was there I went up around noon to a small church hard by the large harbour.’
      • ‘Here's a picture of my sunny destination - Tavira, hard by the Spanish border.’
      • ‘We lived hard by the factory and our windows gave on the factory yard.’
      • ‘The balloting took place in Westminster's Church House, hard by the House of Commons.’
      • ‘The undertaking establishment was on the Brompton Road hard by the chapel and nearby Trevor Square.’
      close to, right by, close by, beside, near, near to, nearby, not far from, a short distance from, a step away from, a stone's throw from, on the doorstep of, in the vicinity of, in the neighbourhood of, round the corner from, within easy reach of, adjacent to
      View synonyms
  • hard done by

    • Harshly or unfairly treated.

      ‘she would be justified in feeling hard done by’
      • ‘Faced with the complex task of establishing which party is telling the truth, family court judges tend to defer to the mother, leaving fathers feeling hard done by and resentful.’
      • ‘Some people are going to feel hard done by, and speaking to them, they have very convincing arguments.’
      • ‘‘I'm fed up feeling hard done by because we have only ourselves to blame,’ said Williamson.’
      • ‘I don't think Dad ever complained he'd been hard done by.’
      • ‘Several other players can feel hard done by to not make the shortlist but, after such a fine team performance, picking three players out was a near-impossible task.’
      • ‘These articles paint a picture of a poor retired couple that have been very hard done by and are in need of protection from neighbours.’
      • ‘However, they still have cause to feel a little hard done by.’
      • ‘He seems, most of the time, like a man born to be hard done by.’
      • ‘By all accounts, the Scotland squad is feeling a little hard done by, and to a certain extent, you can understand why.’
      • ‘Annie sees herself as permanently hard done by.’
  • hard feelings

    • usually with negativeFeelings of resentment.

      ‘there are no hard feelings and we wish him well’
      • ‘Fortunately there are absolutely no hard feelings.’
      • ‘We don't have any hard feelings for you or to anyone in the world, we just want to live in peace.’
      • ‘Then she winks to let me know there are no hard feelings.’
      • ‘He had summoned my father to make peace, claiming through an intermediary that there were no hard feelings and that he didn't know what all the fuss was about.’
      • ‘He admitted he was disappointed to lose his place but insisted he had no hard feelings.’
      • ‘He managed a weak smile before saying to her, ‘So no hard feelings about Sunday?’’
      • ‘It was just a short letter telling me there were no hard feelings, that he had nothing against me off the field and that what happened on the field was one thing and what happened off it was another.’
      • ‘Sarah had firm ideas of what the garden should be like and challenged Matt over one or two of his ideas, forcing him to the return to the drawing board, but she insisted there were no hard feelings.’
      • ‘He left them as politely as possible, and with no hard feelings.’
      • ‘He returns to face them this afternoon with no hard feelings.’
      resentment, animosity, ill feeling, ill feelings, ill will, bitterness, bad blood, resentfulness, rancour, malice, acrimony, antagonism, antipathy, animus, friction, anger, hostility, hate, hatred
      View synonyms
  • hard going

    • Difficult to understand or enjoy.

      ‘the studying is at times hard going’
      • ‘The book runs to some 500 pages and I found it rather hard going.’
      • ‘It's hard going at first - the descriptions are dense, poetic word-paintings - but once you're engaged with the characters you'll be hooked.’
      • ‘The article is pretty hard going.’
      • ‘The statistics course is aimed at beginners, but I am finding it pretty hard going - and it is only day one.’
      • ‘A hefty tome like Ulysses may appear at first to be hard going.’
      • ‘It is hard going but it is something I will see through, even if it takes the rest of my life.’
      • ‘We started watching the film but found it hard going because it was getting late and we were tired.’
      • ‘But no matter how much fun you try to make it, it can be hard going.’
      • ‘I wasn't sure what to expect of the classes, and unfortunately I'm finding them hard going.’
      • ‘It was a fairly unconventional film, and I think a number of people including myself found it pretty hard going.’
  • hard hit

    • Badly affected.

      ‘Trinidad had been hard hit by falling oil prices’
      • ‘The company had been hard hit by rising steel and oil costs, and was struggling to raise prices for its products.’
      • ‘Agricultural land is being snapped up by investors, often wealthy farmers from the north of Ireland who have not been as hard hit by beef bans and food scares.’
      • ‘Millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in this country but now the service industry is also being hard hit.’
      • ‘The cotton, tobacco and beef industries were particularly hard hit.’
      • ‘But York was hard hit by the floods of a year ago, and many small business are still struggling to recover.’
      • ‘Louisiana towns just east of the Texas border were particularly hard hit by the storm surges and flooding.’
      • ‘Small businesses are particularly hard hit because they cannot negotiate discounts like big companies.’
      • ‘Food and drink, tourism and manufacturing have been particularly hard hit.’
      • ‘Some have been hard hit by major retail and out-of-town superstores.’
      • ‘The tourism and entertainment industries have been hard hit by the falloff in air travel.’
  • hard luck (or lines)

    • informal Used to express sympathy or commiserations.

      ironic ‘if you don't like it then hard luck’
      • ‘If the weather should be bad, as it often is, then hard luck; that was your compulsory day off and you can't have it on another day instead.’
      • ‘The invites have been sent out, if you didn't get one hard luck, but I'm sure there are plenty more out there.’
      • ‘Congratulations to the Armagh U - 21 team who won the All-Ireland last Saturday and hard luck to the Mayo team.’
      • ‘I say what I think and, unfortunately, if you don't like it, it's hard luck.’
      • ‘Congratulations to the ladies who won the Ladies Basketball county final and hard luck to the men's team who were defeated in the Men's Basketball final.’
      • ‘So Baz, hard luck, maybe better luck next time, but I did say you were backing the wrong team.’
      • ‘It's just hard luck if you are an elderly person who doesn't move that quickly, or some tired and overburdened shopper.’
      • ‘If you live on the wrong side of the road and rely on your post, hard luck!’
      • ‘‘It is hard luck on those who have not made it but competition for places is very strong and it is a healthy situation to be in,’ said Byas.’
      • ‘So if you're hungry, hard luck, although certainly pay a visit if you value a decent pint and good company in congenial surroundings.’
  • hard of hearing

    • Not able to hear well.

      • ‘He may be hard of hearing but his brain is as sharp as ever.’
      • ‘Not all people who are hard of hearing read lips or use sign language.’
      • ‘Judges have ruled that he is hard of hearing rather than deaf, despite medical evidence proving he cannot hear anything.’
      • ‘Although suffering from failing eyesight and being a touch hard of hearing, the great grandmother has retained an acute memory of her childhood days.’
      • ‘Over half of people aged over 60 are hard of hearing or deaf.’
      • ‘Helen has been a carer for her mum, who is hard of hearing and is severely disabled with arthritis, for the past 11 years.’
      • ‘He is hard of hearing and needs someone to translate his speech.’
      • ‘One of the twins was hard of hearing and the other could hear quite well.’
      • ‘Some of us are hard of hearing and could not hear the officer in the car going by.’
      • ‘I think my ears are clogged up with wax, as I have been a bit hard of hearing lately.’
      hard of hearing, hearing-impaired, with impaired hearing, unhearing, stone deaf, deafened, profoundly deaf
      View synonyms
  • hard on (or upon)

    • Close to; following soon after.

      ‘hard on the heels of Wimbledon comes the Henley Regatta’
      • ‘Stacks of musty books were no substitute for the fresh, clean air of the season, but exams were hard upon us, and there was no time to stop and smell the flowers, not unless we scheduled it in between study sessions.’
      • ‘These excellent results are following hard on the heels of an impressive Oftsed report.’
      • ‘This announcement follows hard upon the October announcement of a restructuring plan.’
      • ‘The move follows hard on the heels of an acquisition which has seen business gains in the west of Scotland.’
      • ‘The General Strike in England was in 1926, when Auden was nineteen, and it was followed hard upon by the Depression.’
      • ‘The trainer was philosophical about his victory coming hard on the heels of his loss.’
      • ‘At any other time there would be a protracted period of recollection, but the election is hard upon us.’
      • ‘On the field tragedy follows hard upon triumph, ease and discomfort sit side by side…’
      soon after, hard on the heels of, quickly after, promptly after, shortly after, immediately after, directly after, straight after, right after, a short time after, without delay after
      View synonyms
  • hard up

    • informal Short of money.

      ‘I'm too hard up to buy fancy clothes’
      • ‘And as unreliable as official statistics are, there can be no doubt that far too many people are hard up.’
      • ‘Thankfully, I've never been truly hard up, but some of the 1980s were a bit tough.’
      • ‘I have always been keen to earn money, so while I couldn't say I have ever been really hard up, it's because I have worked to make sure I'm not.’
      • ‘It really worries me when relatives buy you something even though you know they are hard up.’
      • ‘I was very hard up when I was at school and university.’
      • ‘I think that's probably insulting to people who are genuinely really, really hard up.’
      • ‘But, to be honest, I would have to say I've never been really hard up.’
      • ‘Virtually overnight, they were out of business and very, very hard up.’
      • ‘He could be very generous - lending money to hard up locals, or secretly dropping off a carton of groceries at someone's back door.’
      • ‘Don't use the excuse of being hard up as a reason for not doing it.’
      poor, short of money, short of cash, impoverished, impecunious, in financial difficulties, financially embarrassed, financially distressed, in reduced circumstances, in straitened circumstances, unable to make ends meet
      View synonyms
  • the hard way

    • Through suffering or learning from the unpleasant consequences of mistakes.

      ‘you're going to learn the hard way who you're up against’
      • ‘He was very clear in his views and showed that he had learnt the game the hard way.’
      • ‘During the last recession, however, everyone learned the hard way that prices could fall.’
      • ‘I learned the hard way just how critically important it is to always wear a seat belt.’
      • ‘Victory will be earned the hard way, and in the end it may come down to the survival of the fittest.’
      • ‘But it's hard to see him working his way up the hard way, heading out for a council meeting on a scooter.’
      • ‘He learned the hard way when to take on the system and when to tolerate it.’
      • ‘It is good advice and given by people who have learned their lesson the hard way.’
      • ‘It was a gutsy display and the home side earned their three points the hard way.’
      • ‘It was a title he earned the hard way; in fact, nobody had to work harder to win a World title.’
      • ‘We learnt the hard way that being rude to colleagues is no way to behave.’
  • play hard to get

    • informal Deliberately adopt an aloof or uninterested attitude, typically in order to make oneself more attractive or interesting.

      • ‘Girls should have the confidence to play hard to get, to wait until they find a mate who matches their demands rather than giving in so easily.’
      • ‘Julie was still playing hard to get and Bryce was too proud to admit that his girlfriend overpowered him.’
      • ‘After months of being cautious and playing hard to get, I'm going to bravely risk rejection this time.’
      • ‘While I know logically that it's safest to play hard to get, to keep my heart locked away so that no one can hurt me, that's just not who I am.’
      • ‘In this love affair, like many others, playing hard to get can only make for a better relationship.’
      • ‘I bet you're one of those girls who plays hard to get.’
      • ‘‘He tried to talk to me for a while after we met, but I was playing hard to get,’ she said with a slight smile.’
      • ‘What could be more perverse than playing hard to get when looking for the one we can really open up to?’
      • ‘Sometimes when dates played hard to get, it made the chase more interesting and the inevitable surrender more satisfying.’
      • ‘They are playing hard to get with the media, and are keeping us all interested.’
  • put the hard word on

    • 1informal Ask a favour of (someone), especially a sexual or financial one.

      • ‘Then a couple of boozed-up blokes who put the hard word on Jen decide to take you on despite a large spanner in your hand and things really kick off.’
      • ‘If I put the hard word on any of my students or colleagues I supervise I deserve to be booted out of my job because I am potentially exploiting my authority.’
      • ‘If you're looking for a government grant, I'd stop him after the show to put the hard word on him.’
      1. 1.1Put pressure on (someone).
        • ‘She put the hard word on me to come out later that night to see a gig her boy was performing in.’
        • ‘I was a bit wary of putting up such a thing uncensored, especially as it seemed so out of whack with mainstream media reports, but my brother put the hard word on me, and I succumbed.’
        • ‘There is a precedent for putting the hard word on a government staffer to give evidence to a Senate committee.’
        • ‘In any event, the Government's going to be putting the hard word on the Labor Council and the public sector unions: there'll be no room for wage increases in this budget cycle.’


Old English hard, heard, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hard and German hart.