One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Beset by difficulty or trouble; in a difficult position, in difficulty; (in later use especially) hard put to it to do something. Compare "hard" and to be hard set.
2Of liquid, soil, etc.: set so as to be hard or firm.
3Determined, resolute; obstinate.
4Of a person's face, jaw, expression, etc.: rigidly set, especially as expressing or characteristic of determination.
5Of a bird's egg: in which incubation is well advanced.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Taill of Rauf Coilȝear. From hard + set.
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