Definition of hard up in US English:

hard up

phrase

informal
  • Short of money.

    ‘I'm too hard up to buy fancy clothes’
    • ‘It really worries me when relatives buy you something even though you know they are hard up.’
    • ‘I think that's probably insulting to people who are genuinely really, really hard up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Don't use the excuse of being hard up as a reason for not doing it.’
    • ‘He could be very generous - lending money to hard up locals, or secretly dropping off a carton of groceries at someone's back door.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was very hard up when I was at school and university.’
    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
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Pronunciation

hard up

/ˌhärd ˈəp//ˌhɑrd ˈəp/