Definition of hard word in US English:

hard word


  • 1A harsh or unkind word or (in early use) utterance; an insult; a reprimand. In later use only in plural: words indicative or expressive of hostility or dispute.

  • 2A word which is difficult to understand or spell. In early use also: †a statement which is difficult to interpret (obsolete).

  • 3Originally Irish English; later also Australian. A hint, a tip-off; a piece of inside information; a password. Now rare (chiefly in historical contexts).

  • 4Australian and NZ informal. An importunate request, especially for money. Especially in "to put the hard word on": to ask insistently for a favour or a loan; (sometimes) specifically to proposition sexually.


Middle English; earliest use found in Soul's Address to Body. From hard + word.


hard word

/hɑːd ˈwəːd/