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[hahrd-tak] /ˈhɑrdˌtæk/
a hard, saltless biscuit, formerly much used aboard ships and for army rations.
Also called pilot biscuit, pilot bread, ship biscuit, ship bread.
Origin of hardtack
1830-40; hard + tack2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hardtack
  • If it was too wet to light a fire, they had to subsist on hardtack biscuits and cold sowbelly doused in vinegar.
  • The sweet alcoholic potion revived their spirits, and the chewy hardtack gave sustenance.
  • These foods provided a welcome relief from the usual salt meat, canned goods and hardtack.
  • Cornmeal mush was served at breakfast and each were provided a dried meat and hardtack lunch ration.
  • hardtack was selling for a dollar apiece-if you could find a seller.
  • Soldiers erected small evergreen trees strung with hardtack and pork.
  • There was no wood to make a fire to warm ourselves by or to make coffee, nothing to eat but hardtack.
  • hardtack seemed to them a priceless treasure, and one could buy anything they had.
British Dictionary definitions for hardtack


a kind of hard saltless biscuit, formerly eaten esp by sailors as a staple aboard ship Also called pilot biscuit, ship's biscuit, sea biscuit
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 hardtack

1836, "ship's biscuit," from hard (adj.) + tack (n.3); soft-tack was soft wheaten bread.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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