Definition of hard case in US English:

hard case


  • A tough or intractable person.

    • ‘There is, in my opinion, no right answer in this hardest of hard cases.’
    • ‘Of course, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of hard cases.’
    • ‘We are dealing with what you would call the hard cases - people with special difficulties.’
    • ‘In any event, it is a non-residential course, and it will not take young people who behave ‘inappropriately’, or use drugs or alcohol - precisely the hard cases that Airborne is willing to tackle.’
    • ‘‘I have seen tapes of Jimenez and he looks a real tough, hard case,’ Calzaghe said.’
    • ‘According to Sara Nathan, a member of the HFEA ethics committee, ‘there are always hard cases and difficult decisions’.’
    • ‘But there are hard cases out there and most of us in our smug and complaining satisfaction simply don't know.’
    • ‘It is hard cases such as these, where content seems beyond the possibility of defence, where the case for free speech online is fought or lost.’
    • ‘The absolute prohibition on abortion won't wash with the Irish people because its implication for hard cases they can identify with frightens them.’
    • ‘You may argue that International strife and politics is not like a simple dispute between hard cases behind the bike sheds but I will counter with the complex reply that ‘YES IT IS’.’
    • ‘If the Religion Clauses demand neutrality, we must enforce them, in hard cases as well as easy ones.’
    • ‘But writing honestly about the hard cases isn't impossible.’
    • ‘It's the only plausible cause left, since only the hardest of hard cases is still holding out for a breakthrough in the WMD snipe hunt.’
    • ‘There are hard cases in the law of cyberspace, no doubt.’
    • ‘It's only to say that I don't think gay adoption can be relied on to clean up the foster care system's hard cases.’
    • ‘The US secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, argues that the inhumane incarceration, the secrecy and the abuse of any principles of justice are all justified by the fact that these prisoners are the hardest of hard cases.’
    • ‘But that is the problem with the bad law resulting from hard cases - the exercise of child protection measures becomes as arbitrary as the exercise of criminal justice.’
    • ‘They have never met them, it is such a big organisation that they struggle to know people, and I thought there was more we could do to interact and get our people out and help them with the hard cases and prove our credibility.’
    • ‘What Fathers 4 Justice and its media allies (who tip quickly into outright misogynists) choose to ignore is that a significant number of these hard cases include domestic violence and sexual abuse.’
    • ‘Some people are hard cases - they may never see themselves as responsible.’


hard case

/ˈhärd ˌkās/