Definition of hard bargain in US English:

hard bargain


  • 1A transaction which is unfavourable or disadvantageous, especially financially, to the party agreeing to it. Later also: a difficult circumstance, situation, etc., especially one which results from a compromise or exchange.

  • 2"to drive (also strike,etc.) a hard bargain": to be uncompromising in making a deal or deals.

  • 3Originally and chiefly British Navy slang. A person who is not considered to be worth the wages he or she is paid; a useless or lazy person, a shirker; especially an incompetent member of the Royal Navy. In naval use more fully "King's (or Queen's) hard bargain". Now chiefly in historical contexts.


Early 17th century. From hard + bargain.


hard bargain

/ˌhɑːd ˈbɑːɡ(ɪ)n/