Meaning of HARD in English


I. ˈhärd, ˈhȧd adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English heard; akin to Old High German hart hard, Old Norse harthr hard, Gothic hardus severe, Greek kratos strength, kratys strong, and probably to Sanskrit karkara hard



(1) : not easily penetrated, cut, or separated into parts : not easily yielding to pressure : firm , solid , compact

an extremely hard stone

wriggled uncomfortably in his hard chair

these apples are very hard

(2) : having rigid boards on the sides covered in cloth or paper

a hard binding

selling methods … to fit the hard books — Henry Garfinkle

(3) : hardwood 2

b. of liquor

(1) : having a harsh, sharp, or acid taste

a hard wine

(2) : strong , spirituous , intoxicating ; specifically : having an alcoholic content of more than 22.5 percent


(1) : characterized by the presence of dissolved substances (as salts of magnesium and calcium) that prevent the formation of lather with soap — used of water and water solutions

(2) of oil : too thick to pour at ordinary temperatures

(3) : characterized by radiation of relatively high penetrating power

hard X rays

also : relating to or constituting a high-vacuum tube that produces such radiation

hard tube

(4) : having or producing relatively great photographic contrast

a hard negative

hard paper

(5) : difficult to fuse or soften

a hard glass

a hard enamel


(1) of money : metallic as distinct from paper

the colonies suffered from a shortage of hard money

ranchers … who were known to keep their wealth in the form of hard money — W.H.Breen

(2) of currency : convertible into gold or heavily backed by a gold reserve and typically stable, high, or appreciating in value

the period of the eighteen-nineties witnessed a bitter struggle between the hard -money and the cheap-money groups — C.B.Swisher

also : available to borrowers in limited supply and at high interest rates

a hard -money policy

(3) of a currency : soundly backed and usually readily convertible into foreign currencies without restrictions or large discounts

they require payment in dollars, pounds, or other hard … currency — Joseph Wechsberg

(4) : constituting currency as distinct from promissory notes or other documents of contingent value — often used as an intensive in the phrase hard cash

he has to be paid in hard cash

pay the writing schools hard cash to liberate their muse — Edward Uhlan

(5) of prices : high and firm


(1) : tight — used especially of yarns with many twists per inch

(2) : napless — used especially of woolen and worsted fabrics with a smooth clear finish

(3) of plumage : close-fitting and firm in texture

(4) of individual feathers : uniformly colored



(1) : capable of great physical exertion or endurance : not flabby or soft : physically fit

nice animals in good hard condition — R.M.Daw

all likely lads in hard condition — John Buchan

(2) : resistant especially to stress or disease : hardy

children of harder stock — Ernest Beaglehole

b. : free of weakness or other flaw : strong , unyielding , tempered

brought out of the war a character austere and not a little hard — Edmund Wilson

a man of hard unbending will


(1) : not tentative or contingent : fixed , definite , binding , concrete

failure … to make hard , firm decisions at high levels — Science

the continuing lack of a hard agreement with the U.S. — Benjamin Welles

(2) : not speculative or conjectural : based on fact : objectively existent : factual , actual , reliable

backed by evidence which he considers hard — American Anthropologist

a comprehensive set of hard figures emerged for the first time — Time

most facts are independent of our volitions; that is why they are called hard — Bertrand Russell

hard evidence that the government's optimism is not unfounded — Sydney Gruson

(3) : hard-and-fast

there can be no hard line of division between these two groups of changes — Edward Sapir

(4) : close , searching, concentrated

took a last hard look at the old homestead

at a later date I will take a hard look at my political future — New York Times

(5) of news : not trivial, diverting, or sensational : important in its economic, political, or other large bearing

hard news refers to the less exciting and more analytical stories of public affairs, economics, social problems — F.L.Mott

— compare soft

d. : free from sentimentality or illusions : viewing objectively or coolly : realistic , practical

the hard modern mind — College English

the later version is harder, less “poetic” in the Romantic sense, less sentimental — Louis MacNeice

the most practical place to teach hard practical thinking is in … sociology — National Catholic Educational Association Bulletin

a Scotsman's hard , keen sense of the practical — R.W.Chapman

notable for his hard sense, frugality, and industry



(1) : difficult to bear or endure : not easy to put up with or consent to : grievous , unpleasant , distressing , bad

you've had very hard luck

the dory was … in hard shape — G.W.Brace

the hard years dragged by

too much reading is hard on the eyes

that traffic cop gave me a hard time

specifically : economically depressed

hard times followed, and domestic creditors suffered equally with the foreign — S.E.Morison & H.S.Commager

the Alaska gold rush … put an end to hard times — American Guide Series: Washington

(2) : oppressive , inequitable , unjust

musicians also find it hard that they must pay heavy duty … on orchestral instruments — Report: (Canadian) Royal Commission on National Development

the hard system of apprenticeship, virtual peonage, was failing rapidly — American Guide Series: Tennessee


(1) : harsh or severe in one's dealings : lacking compassion or gentleness : unfeeling , callous

he was a stern, hard , cruel man — Anthony Trollope

people who are hard , grasping, selfish — G.B.Shaw

don't be too hard on the boy

(2) : intractable , hardened , incorrigible , tough

my first real assignment was as a sort of scoutmaster to a hard gang of boys — R.M.Lovett

a prison warden of long standing and accustomed to dealing with hard cases

(3) : devoid of fine or refined feelings : impudently bold : brazen , shameless

a hard , cheap, frightened floozy — Arthur Knight


(1) : harsh, severe, or offensive in tendency or effect : unpalatable , cruel

this is a hard saying to people who have worked so much — Clement Attlee

said some very hard things to me

: hostile , resentful

no hard feelings, I'm sure

: rough , coarse

hard and frugal fare, yet we throve upon it

: making no concession : strict , unrelenting

he drives a very hard bargain

a credit to the hard religious system under which they were bred — G.M.Trevelyan

(2) : tending to put in a bad or sinister light : unfavorable , forbidding

hard stories too were told about him; something … concerning an hereditary propensity to eat men — Herman Melville

(3) : rigorous , inclement , violent

one of the hardest winters in men's memories

a hard , driving rain

in hard weather he stayed in his … house — Mary Webb


(1) : intense in force, manner, or degree : sharp , profound , deep

a hard spell of coughing — Ellen Glasgow

dealt him a hard blow

fell into a hard sleep

going at a hard trot down that steep hill — Rachel Henning

(2) : carried on, performed, or waged with great intensity, exertion, or energy : arduous , strenuous , unremitting

got where he is by hard work

this question requires hard thinking — W.H.Whyte

with some the sell is hard , with big advertising budgets … and platoons of agents on the road — Blake Ehrlich

(3) : performing or carrying on an activity or one's work with great energy, intensity, or persistence

a hard drinker

one of the hardest workers on the floor

a very hard smoker — Tadhg Murphy

(4) : subjecting to a severe strain : intensive , punishing

was nearing a century of hard wear when it lost a cover — R.W.Chapman

this garment will stand hard use

(5) : useful for a long time : durable

hard merchandise

e. : giving the impression of or suggesting hardness: as

(1) : lacking in shading, delicacy, or subtlety : harsh , strident

this is for hard big tone — Warwick Braithwaite

it has a hard but brilliant note — Robert Donington

(2) : characterized by sharp or harsh outline, rigid execution, and stiff drawing

exaggerated shadows to intensify crisp outlines and hard forms — Katharine Kuh

a portrait in the hard but sincere and living fashion of the period — G.K.Chesterton

(3) : sharply defined : stark , crisp , precise

looking … at the hard shadows we cast on the ground — John Skölle

in the early twilight the outlines of the castle loomed hard and clear

(4) : not softened or shaded in any way : glaring , vivid

hard bright sunlight at the water's edge — Oscar Handlin

the light is so hard and brilliant that … you have to screw up your eyes — Thomas Wood †1950

had the hard dull flush of the steady heavy drinker — Thomas Wolfe

staring at the ceiling in the hard light of the one unshaded lamp — Nevil Shute

(5) : sounding as in arcing and geese respectively — used of c and g or their sound

(6) of a consonant : voiceless

(7) : constituting a vowel before which there is no y sound and no y-like modification of a consonant or constituting a consonant in whose articulation there is no y-like modification and which is not followed by a y sound (as in Russian) — compare palatalize

(8) : indicative or suggestive of severity, firmness, toughness, or insensitivity of temperament or character

the same faint, hard smile around the edges of her mouth — Thomas Wolfe

with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner — Scott Fitzgerald

a fund of English openness and good nature legible in his hard features — William Heath

a hard pair of eyes that belied his unmanly, almost effeminate face — Barnaby Conrad

— often used in combination

a hard -faced businessman who knows all the latest salacious limericks — Harold Wincott

a hard -eyed little man

4. : presenting difficulties, obstacles, or perplexities: as


(1) : difficult to accomplish, master, resolve, or acquire : not easy : troublesome , perplexing

this ailment is hard to cure

the American habit of tipping … is a hard one to break — Richard Joseph

of course all languages are hard — Bernard Bloch

a hard decision

she's playing hard to get

a distinctly hard problem

(2) : difficult to comprehend or explain : obscure , dark , thorny

a hard saying, no doubt, … but it has its meaning — Havelock Ellis

this is at first sight a very hard saying, but a little consideration will show that it is only natural — J.A.Todd

a book full of long, hard words

(3) : difficult to untie or unravel

he tied his shoelaces in hard knots — Erskine Caldwell

b. archaic : having difficulty in doing something

c. : attended or marked by drudgery, hardship, or other painful experience

many perished on the long hard march to safety

fishing and lumbering … are hard trades — Upton Sinclair

the birth was hard — Farley Mowat


difficult , arduous : hard is a general antonym for easy and is applicable to any activity requiring great exertion

a hard task

the hard work of digging the shaft

a subject hard to teach

inspirations such as these do not necessarily eliminate all the hard work that goes into developing them and putting them down on paper — J.D.Cook

difficult may imply obstacles to be surmounted, problems to be solved, complication to be removed, simplifications to be made, or trials to be faced by skill, ingenuity, or resolution

to climb a mountain which, as all who have climbed it testify, is long, steep, and difficult — W.R.Inge

business of a delicate and difficult nature, which might get people into trouble — Charles Dickens

trying to write things that have not been written before, and that were very difficult to write — Havelock Ellis

the more difficult task of changing the ways of thinking, the habits, and the practices of the Japanese people — Collier's Year Book

arduous may suggest need for perseverance and resolute exertion

the local railways … worked their arduous ways up the mining valleys — O.S.Nock

the arduous task of formulating legislation necessary to the country's welfare — F.D.Roosevelt

the scientific spirit, like the spirit of sanctity, can be acquired only by the arduous methodical discipline — M.R.Cohen

Synonym: see in addition firm .

- hard up

- the hard way

II. adverb

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English harde, from Old English hearde; akin to Old High German harto extremely, Old Norse hartha; derivative from the root of English hard (I)


a. : with great or utmost effort or energy : vigorously , strenuously , earnestly

the men were hard at work

the lumbermen lived and played hard

you've been going too hard the last six months

it forces one to think hard

b. : violently , fiercely

drove the muzzle hard into the gangster's face

the rain came down hard

the wind is blowing hard


(1) : to the full extent or the extreme limit — used in nautical directions especially to the helmsman

hard right

hard alee

hard aport

(2) : to a considerable extent : massively , largely

if … you wish to persevere with the present tree, cut it back hard — Sydney (Australia) Bulletin

the strike cut production back hard

d. : in an immoderate manner : to an extreme degree : intensively , unremittingly

he is hitting the bottle hard

e. : in a searching, close, or concentrated manner : intently

looked hard at him

listen hard to what I have to say

f. : in a sharp or emphatic manner : pointedly

the incident brought home to him hard his inadequate grasp of the subject


a. : in such a manner as to cause hardship, difficulty, or pain : harshly , severely , cruelly , badly

the Stamp Act and other laws which bore hard on colonial prosperity — H.E.Scudder

such levies hit the poor harder than the rich — Collier's Year Book

things have gone very hard with us

b. : with extreme rancor, bitterness, or grief : with animus or resentment of — often used with take

this expansion of Russia's … was taken very hard in the liberal Western world — New Republic

it was his first taste of defeat … he took it hard — S.H.Adams

c. : austerely , frugally

they deserved to live hard even if it deprived them of … leisure in which to think high — F.M.Ford

3. : tightly , firmly , fast

hold on hard

4. : to the point of hardness

like my eggs boiled hard

the river froze hard

5. : with difficulty : laboriously

breathing hard after that long run

6. : in close or immediate proximity in time or space

caught the fish hard in to the shore

the house stood hard by the river

hard on the heels of the Supreme Court decision

darkness was hard at hand

steamships berth hard up against the main streets — William Sansom

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, something that is hard, from hard, adjective

1. chiefly Britain : a firm foreshore or landing place

2. slang chiefly Britain : hard labor

ten years hard … for clouting some bloke — Richard Llewellyn

3. : erection 2 — used in the phrase hard on ; usually considered vulgar

IV. adjective

1. : being at once addictive and gravely detrimental to health

such hard drugs as heroin

2. : resistant to biodegradation

hard detergents

hard pesticides like DDT

3. : being, schooled in, or using the methods of the natural sciences and especially of the physical sciences

a hard scientist

4. : most unyielding or thoroughgoing

the hard political right

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.