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[hahrd-nis] /ˈhɑrd nɪs/
the state or quality of being hard:
the hardness of ice.
a relative degree or extent of this quality:
wood of a desirable hardness.
that quality in water that is imparted by the presence of dissolved salts, especially calcium sulfate or bicarbonate.
unfeelingness or jadedness; callousness.
harshness or austerity, as of a difficult existence.
South Midland U.S. ill will; bad feelings:
There's a lot of hardness between those two boys.
Mineralogy. the comparative ability of a substance to scratch or be scratched by another.
Compare Mohs scale.
Metallurgy. the measured resistance of a metal to indention, abrasion, deformation, or machining.
Origin of hardness
before 900; Middle English hardnes, Old English heardnes. See hard, -ness Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hardness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Its hardness and coldness reassured her of she knew not what.

    The Narrow House Evelyn Scott
  • Its hardness, solidity, and actuality could not be gainsaid.

  • The wound was healed, but the hardness of the scar remained.

  • It may be that the hardness that was once there shows now upon my face—that is all.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • It is from six to eight inches long, and ends in a sharp-pointed hook of extreme strength and hardness.

    Under the Southern Cross Maturin M. Ballou
  • He shrank under the hedges, 'in guilt and sorrow, bemoaning the hardness of his fate.'

    Bunyan James Anthony Froude
  • The disregard of these common decencies lays him open to the charges of cruelty, cynicism, hardness.

British Dictionary definitions for hardness


the quality or condition of being hard
one of several measures of resistance to indentation, deformation, or abrasion See Mohs scale, Brinell hardness number
the quality of water that causes it to impair the lathering of soap: caused by the presence of certain calcium salts. Temporary hardness can be removed by boiling whereas permanent hardness cannot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hardness

Old English heardnysse; see hard + -ness. Meaning "difficulty of action or accomplishment" is late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hardness in Science
A measure of how easily a mineral can be scratched. Hardness is measured on the Mohs scale.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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