hard nut to crack

Idioms & Phrases

hard nut to crack

Also, tough nut to crack. A difficult problem; also, an individual who is difficult to deal with. For example, This assignment is a hard nut to crack, or It won't be easy getting her approval; she's a tough nut to crack. This metaphoric expression alludes to hard-shelled nuts like walnuts. [Early 1700s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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