adj., adv., & n.
1. (of a substance, material, etc.) firm and solid; unyielding to pressure; not easily cut.
2 a difficult to understand or explain (a hard problem). b difficult to accomplish (a hard decision). c (foll. by to + infin.) not easy to (hard to believe; hard to please).
3 difficult to bear; entailing suffering (a hard life).
4 (of a person) unfeeling; severely critical.
5 (of a season or the weather) severe, harsh (a hard winter; a hard frost).
6 harsh or unpleasant to the senses (a hard voice; hard colours).
7 a strenuous, enthusiastic, intense (a hard worker; a hard fight). b severe, uncompromising (a hard blow; a hard bargain; hard words). c Polit. extreme; most radical (the hard right).
8 a (of liquor) strongly alcoholic. b (of drugs) potent and addictive. c (of radiation) highly penetrating. d (of pornography) highly suggestive and explicit.
9 (of water) containing mineral salts that make lathering difficult.
10 established; not disputable; reliable (hard facts; hard data).
11 Stock Exch. (of currency, prices, etc.) high; not likely to fall in value.
12 Phonet. (of a consonant) guttural (as c in cat, g in go).
1. strenuously, intensely, copiously; with one's full effort (try hard; look hard at; is raining hard; hard-working).
2 with difficulty or effort (hard-earned).
3 so as to be hard or firm (hard-baked; the jelly set hard).
1. a sloping roadway across a foreshore.
2 sl. hard labour (got two years hard).
Phrases and idioms:
be hard on
1. be difficult for.
2 be severe in one's treatment or criticism of.
3 be unpleasant to (the senses). be hard put to it (usu. foll. by to + infin.) find it difficult. go hard with turn out to (a person's) disadvantage. hard and fast (of a rule or a distinction made) definite, unalterable, strict. hard at it colloq. busily working or occupied.
1. (of an egg) boiled until the white and the yolk are solid.
2 (of a person) tough, shrewd. hard by near; close by.
a hard case
1. colloq. a an intractable person. b Austral. & NZ an amusing or eccentric person.
2 a case of hardship. hard cash negotiable coins and banknotes. hard coal anthracite. hard copy printed material produced by computer, usu. on paper, suitable for ordinary reading.
1. an irreducible nucleus.
2 colloq. a the most active or committed members of a society etc. b a conservative or reactionary minority.
3 Brit. solid material, esp. rubble, forming the foundation of a road etc. hard-core adj. blatant, uncompromising, esp.:
1. (of pornography) explicit, obscene.
2 (of drug addiction) relating to 'hard' drugs, esp. heroin. hard disk Computing a large-capacity rigid usu. magnetic storage disk. hard-done-by harshly or unfairly treated. hard error Computing a permanent error. hard feelings feelings of resentment.
hard hat colloq.
1. protective headgear worn on building-sites etc.
2 a reactionary person. hard hit badly affected. hard-hitting aggressively critical. hard labour heavy manual work as a punishment, esp. in a prison.
1. a clumsy or rough landing of an aircraft.
2 an uncontrolled landing in which a spacecraft is destroyed. hard line unyielding adherence to a firm policy. hard-liner a person who adheres rigidly to a policy. hard lines Brit. colloq. hard luck. hard luck worse fortune than one deserves. hard-nosed colloq. realistic, uncompromising. hard nut sl. a tough, aggressive person.
a hard nut to crack colloq.
1. a difficult problem.
2 a person or thing not easily understood or influenced. hard of hearing somewhat deaf. hard on (or upon) close to in pursuit etc. hard-on n. coarse sl. an erection of the penis. hard pad a form of distemper in dogs etc. hard palate the front part of the palate. hard-paste denoting a Chinese or 'true' porcelain made of fusible and infusible materials (usu. clay and stone) and fired at a high temperature.
1. closely pursued.
2 burdened with urgent business. hard rock colloq. rock music with a heavy beat. hard roe see ROE(1). hard sauce a sauce of butter and sugar, often with brandy etc. added. hard sell aggressive salesmanship or advertising. hard shoulder Brit. a hardened strip alongside a motorway for stopping on in an emergency. hard stuff sl. strong alcoholic drink, esp. whisky. hard tack a ship's biscuit.
1. short of money.
2 (foll. by for) at a loss for; lacking. hard-wearing able to stand much wear. hard wheat wheat with a hard grain rich in gluten. hard-wired involving or achieved by permanently connected circuits designed to perform a specific function. hard-working diligent. put the hard word on Austral. & NZ sl. ask a favour (esp. sexual or financial) of.
hardish adj. hardness n.
Etymology: OE hard, heard f. Gmc