Definition of hardscrabble in English:



North American
  • Involving hard work and struggle.

    ‘her uncle's hardscrabble peanut farm’
    ‘it was a hardscrabble life in a one-bedroom housing project’
    • ‘Prior to the development of the industry, Stony Creek had been a village of hardscrabble subsistence farms and a small, local fish and shellfish industry.’
    • ‘Alaska was a hardscrabble state until, in 1977, oil began flowing from Prudhoe Bay.’
    • ‘And David Love, who grew up on a hardscrabble ranch in the very center of the state, was the primary author of both the 1955 and 1985 editions of the Geological Survey's Wyoming maps.’
    • ‘I yearn for those days with the same desperate yearning I felt then: to balloon away in the wind, away from the hardscrabble farm, with only Dawn in the basket with me, and me, in her eyes, transformed, beautified.’
    • ‘No air conditioning, little ice, bad medicine, hardscrabble farming, gold panics, rye trusts, locust plagues - the good old days.’
    • ‘But it's a triumphant story for the foot soldiers, the women who had dead-end lives, working in factories or on hardscrabble farms.’
    • ‘His Angus cows, some a Hereford mix, black and white faces molded into rhetorical Noh masks, were scattered about, grazing on the hardscrabble hillsides.’
    • ‘But there's more at work here than hardscrabble opportunism, as the companies' record of chart-busting growth suggests.’
    • ‘the Wellington Neighborhood stands out not only for its architecture and master plan but also for its reclamation of a truly hardscrabble site.’
    • ‘Farmers everywhere are living on Struggle St, eeking out an existence in the hardscrabble of the outback.’
    • ‘It is a hardscrabble area, where the British had an embassy for nearly eighty years before they were driven into the Green Zone soon after the current occupation settled in.’
    • ‘There will never be an optimum time for the kind of hardscrabble dialogue it will take to define what we mean by diversity, multiethnic and multicultural.’
    • ‘Back in 1978-79, when he still was playing with Boston during the hardscrabble years in which John Y. Brown owned the team, the Celtics had the capital idea of making Cowens a coach.’
    • ‘Getting and keeping billable customers would seem to be the object of this hardscrabble fight.’
    • ‘It was the sort of life lived by countless others on hardscrabble farms in New England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.’
    • ‘We can start with a tiny company in a hardscrabble nickel-and-dime industry and build it into a billion-dollar business.’
    • ‘There are people alive now who remember the dusty, hardscrabble place of chaparral and arroyo it used to be, but in other ways, the historical distance seems unbridgeable.’
    • ‘Yet, Texans were dealing with great difficulties: extreme weather conditions, hardscrabble land, loneliness, sometimes warring Indians, and some belligerent neighbors in Mexico.’
    • ‘Likewise tens of thousands of young Yankees were leaving their hardscrabble farms and canal towns for the booming railroad workshops, shipyards, and slaughterhouses of Manhattan Island.’
    unproductive, barren, unyielding, unfruitful, uncultivatable
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