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hard time

noun
1.
a period of difficulties or hardship.
2.
Slang. time actually served in a prison or other penal institution:
He had merely been fined before, but now was sentenced to 90 days' hard time in the county jail.
3.
give a hard time, Informal. to bother, annoy, or harass:
He gave me a hard time about the money I owe him.
Origin of hard time
1905-1910
1905-10
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hard time
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • “You would have a hard time making Father see that,” put in Gloria, with a smile.

    Philip Dru: Administrator Edward Mandell House
  • No wonder Florence has a hard time of it; but isn't it wretched of me to gossip?

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I have had a hard time of it, so far; but now I have taken my life into my own hands, and I mean to live it out.

    The Black Cat John Todhunter
  • They had a hard time, but they have won him over, and he is pledged to go with them.

    Adrift on the Pacific Edward S. Ellis
  • “He would have had a hard time stopping him,” Johnny chuckled.

    Red Dynamite Roy J. Snell
Slang definitions & phrases for hard time

hard time

noun phrase

Time actually spent in prison by a sentenced criminal: Hard men are serving hard time 10 miles down the road (1930s+ Underworld)

Related Terms

give someone a hard time

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with hard time

hard time

1.
Also, hard times. A period of difficulty or hardship, especially financial hardship. For example, Since Mom died, Christmas has been a hard time for Dad, or It's been hard times for both of them since they split up. It is also put as have a hard time, as in I'm having a hard time finishing this book. Charles Dickens used Hard Times as the title of a novel about poverty (1854). A more recent version is have a time of it, which despite its ambiguity (not specifying either “good” or “bad”) nearly always means “experiencing difficulty”; for example, We had quite a time of it in that hurricane. [ Late 1300s ]
2.
give someone a hard time. Annoy or harass someone. For example, Don't let him give you a hard time; he's often late himself. [ ; early 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Word Value for hard

8
7
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