adjective, harder, hardest.
not soft; solid and firm to the touch; unyielding to pressure and impenetrable or almost impenetrable.
firmly formed; tight: a hard knot.
difficult to do or accomplish; fatiguing; troublesome: a hard task.
difficult or troublesome with respect to an action, situation, person, etc.: hard to please; a hard time.
difficult to deal with, manage, control, overcome, or understand: a hard problem.
involving a great deal of effort, energy, or persistence: hard labor; hard study.
performing or carrying on work with great effort, energy, or persistence: a hard worker.
vigorous or violent in force; severe: a hard rain; a hard fall.
bad; unendurable; unbearable: hard luck.
oppressive; harsh; rough: hard treatment.
austere; severe: a hard winter; the hard times of the Great Depression.
harsh or severe in dealing with others: a hard master.
difficult to explain away; undeniable: hard facts.
that can be verified; factual, as distinguished from speculation or hearsay: hard information.
harsh or unfriendly; resentful; severe; bitter: hard feelings; hard words.
of stern judgment or close examination; searching: a hard look.
lacking delicacy or softness; not blurred or diffused; clear and distinct; sharp; harsh: a hard line; a hard, bright light; hard features; a hard face.
(of a photograph) contrasty.
severe or rigorous in terms: a hard bargain.
sternly realistic; dispassionate; unsentimental: a hard, practical man; a hard view of life.
incorrigible; disreputable; tough: a hard character.
Scot. and North England. niggardly; stingy.
in coins or paper money as distinguished from checks, securities, promissory notes, or other negotiable instruments).
(of paper money or a monetary system) supported by sufficient gold reserves and easily convertible into the currency of a foreign nation.
(of money) scarce or available at high interest rates: a hard loan.
denoting assets with intrinsic value, as gold, silver, or diamonds.
containing more than 22.5 percent alcohol by volume, as whiskey and brandy as opposed to beer and wine.
strong because of fermentation; intoxicating: hard cider.
(of wine) tasting excessively of tannin.
(of an illicit narcotic or drug) known to be physically addictive, as opium, morphine, or cocaine.
(of water) containing mineral salts that interfere with the action of soap.
having a firm, crisp crust or texture: hard rolls.
stale or tough.
(of a fabric) having relatively little nap; smooth: Silk is a harder fabric than wool or cotton.
(of the landing of a rocket or space vehicle) executed without decelerating: a hard landing on the moon. Compare soft ( def 28 ).
(of a missile base) equipped to launch missiles from underground silos.
(of a missile) capable of being launched from an underground silo.
Military. being underground and strongly protected from nuclear bombardment.
Agriculture. noting wheats with high gluten content, milled for a bread flour as contrasted with pastry flour.
(of c and g ) pronounced as (k) in come and (g) in go, rather than as in cent, cello, suspicion, gem, or beige.
(of consonants in Slavic languages) not palatalized. Compare soft ( def 26 ).
(in the making of rope) noting a lay having a considerable angle to the axis of the rope; short.
Physics. (of a beam of particles or photons) having relatively high energy: hard x-rays. Compare soft ( def 29 ).
(of the penis) erect.
adverb, harder, hardest.
with great exertion; with vigor or violence; strenuously: to work hard; to try hard.
earnestly, intently, or critically: to look hard at a thing.
harshly or severely.
so as to be solid, tight, or firm: frozen hard.
with strong force or impact: She tripped and came down hard on her back.
in a deeply affected manner; with genuine sorrow or remorse: She took it very hard when they told her of his death.
closely; immediately: Failure and defeat seemed hard at hand. The decision to ban students from the concerts followed hard on the heels of the riot.
to an unreasonable or extreme degree; excessively; immoderately: He's hitting the bottle pretty hard.
Nautical. closely, fully, or to the extreme limit: hard aport; hard alee.
Nautical. a firm or paved beach or slope convenient for hauling vessels out of the water.
a firm or solid beach or foreshore.
a firm landing, jetty, or road across or adjoining the foreshore.
British Slang. hard labor.
be hard on, to deal harshly with; be stern: You are being too hard on him.
hard by, in close proximity to; near: The house is hard by the river.
hard of hearing. hearing-impaired.
hard put, in great perplexity or difficulty; at a loss: We were hard put to finish the examination in one hour.
hard up, Informal.
urgently in need of money.
feeling a lack or need: The country is hard up for technicians and doctors.

before 900; Middle English; Old English heard; cognate with Dutch hard, German hart, Old Norse harthr, Gothic hardus; akin to Greek kratýs strong, Ionic dial. kártos strength (cf. -cracy)

half-hard, adjective
overhard, adjective
overhardness, noun
semihard, adjective
semihardness, noun

1. inflexible, rigid, compressed, compact, dense, resisting, adamantine, flinty. See firm1. 3. toilsome, burdensome, wearisome, exhausting. Hard, difficult both describe something resistant to one's efforts or one's endurance. Hard is the general word: hard times; It was hard to endure the severe weather. Difficult means not easy, and particularly denotes that which requires special effort or skill: a difficult task. 5. complex, complicated, perplexing, puzzling, intricate, knotty, tough. 6. arduous, onerous, laborious. 8. stormy, tempestuous. 10. severe, rigorous, grinding, cruel, merciless, unsparing. 12. stern, austere, strict, exacting, relentless, obdurate, adamant; unyielding, unpitying. Hard, callous, unfeeling, unsympathetic imply a lack of interest in, feeling for, or sympathy with others. Hard implies insensibility, either natural or acquired, so that the plight of others makes no impression on one: a hard taskmaster. Callous may mean the same or that one is himself or herself insensitive to hurt as the result of continued repression and indifference: a callous answer; callous to criticism. Unfeeling implies natural inability to feel with and for others: an unfeeling and thoughtless remark. Unsympathetic implies an indifference that precludes pity, compassion, or the like: unsympathetic toward distress. 13. incontrovertible.

1. soft. 3–6. easy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged


plural noun
the refuse or coarser parts of flax or hemp, separated in hackling.
Also, hurds.

before 900; Middle English herdes, Old English heordan

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
hard (hɑːd)
1.  firm or rigid; not easily dented, crushed, or pierced
2.  toughened by or as if by physical labour; not soft or smooth: hard hands
3.  difficult to do or accomplish; arduous: a hard task
4.  difficult to understand or perceive: a hard question
5.  showing or requiring considerable physical or mental energy, effort, or application: hard work; a hard drinker
6.  stern, cold, or intractable: a hard judge
7.  exacting; demanding: a hard master
8.  harsh; cruel: a hard fate
9.  inflicting pain, sorrow, distress, or hardship: hard times
10.  tough or adamant: a hard man
11.  forceful or violent: a hard knock
12.  cool or uncompromising: we took a long hard look at our profit factor
13.  indisputable; real: hard facts
14.  chem See hardness (of water) impairing the formation of a lather by soap
15.  practical, shrewd, or calculating: he is a hard man in business
16.  too harsh to be pleasant: hard light
17.  a.  (of cash, money, etc) in coin and paper rather than cheques
 b.  (of currency) in strong demand, esp as a result of a good balance of payments situation
 c.  (of credit) difficult to obtain; tight
18.  (of alcoholic drink) being a spirit rather than a wine, beer, etc: the hard stuff
19.  Compare soft (of a drug such as heroin, morphine, or cocaine) highly addictive
20.  physics (of radiation, such as gamma rays and X-rays) having high energy and the ability to penetrate solids
21.  physics (of a vacuum) almost complete
22.  chiefly (US) (of goods) durable
23.  hard core See hard core short for hard-core
24.  (of news coverage) concentrating on serious stories
25.  phonetics
 a.  an older word for fortis
 b.  (not in modern technical usage) denoting the consonants c and g in English when they are pronounced as velar stops (k, g)
 c.  (of consonants in the Slavonic languages) not palatalized
26.  a.  being heavily fortified and protected
 b.  (of nuclear missiles) located underground in massively reinforced silos
27.  politically extreme: the hard left
28.  informal (Brit), (NZ) incorrigible or disreputable (esp in the phrase a hard case)
29.  (of bread, etc) stale and old
30.  a hard nut to crack
 a.  a person not easily persuaded or won over
 b.  a thing not easily understood
31.  hard by near; close by
32.  (NZ) hard doer a tough worker at anything
33.  hard done by unfairly or badly treated
34.  informal hard up
 a.  in need of money; poor
 b.  (foll by for) in great need (of): hard up for suggestions
35.  informal (Austral), (NZ) put the hard word on to ask or demand something from
adv (foll by on, upon, by, or after)
36.  with great energy, force, or vigour: the team always played hard
37.  as far as possible; all the way: hard left
38.  with application; earnestly or intently: she thought hard about the formula
39.  with great intensity, force, or violence: his son's death hit him hard
40.  close; near: hard on his heels
41.  (foll by at) assiduously; devotedly
42.  a.  with effort or difficulty: their victory was hard won
 b.  (in combination): hard-earned
43.  slowly and reluctantly: prejudice dies hard
44.  go hard with to cause pain or difficulty to (someone): it will go hard with you if you don't tell the truth
45.  hard at it working hard
46.  hard put, hard put to it scarcely having the capacity (to do something): he's hard put to get to work by 9:30
47.  any colorant that produces a harsh coarse appearance
48.  (Brit) a roadway across a foreshore
49.  slang hard labour
50.  slang an erection of the penis (esp in the phrase get or have a hard on)
[Old English heard; related to Old Norse harthr, Old Frisian herd, Old High German herti, Gothic hardus hard, Greek kratus strong]

hards or hurds (hɑːdz)
pl n
coarse fibres and other refuse from flax and hemp
[Old English heordan (plural); related to Middle Dutch hēde, Greek keskeon tow]
hurds or hurds
pl n
[Old English heordan (plural); related to Middle Dutch hēde, Greek keskeon tow]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. heard "solid, firm, not soft," also "severe, rigorous, cruel," from P.Gmc. *kharthus (cf. Du. hard, O.N. harðr "hard," O.H.G. harto "extremely, very," Goth. hardus "hard"), from PIE *kratus "power, strength" (cf. Gk. kratos "strength," kratys "strong"). The adv. sense was also present in O.E.
Hard of hearing preserves obsolete M.E. sense of "having difficulty in doing something." Hard liquor is 1879, Amer.Eng. (hard cider is from 1789), and this probably led to hard drugs (1955). Hard facts is from 1887; hard news is from 1938. Hard-headed is first attested 1519; hard-hearted is c.1200. Hard-boiled "severe, tough" is from 1886; hard-core "tough" is 1951, extension to pornography is from 1970s. Hard up (1610s) is originally nautical, of steering (slang sense of "short of money" is from 1821), as is hard and fast (1867), of a ship on shore. Hardball in the figurative sense of "tough, uncompromising" is from 1973; hard-on "penile erection" first recorded 1893; hard times "period of poverty" is from 1705. Hard hat was originally (1935) "derby;" meaning "safety helmet" is from 1953; used figuratively for "construction worker" from 1970. Hard-wired is 1969, from computing. Hardscrabble "barren place" is first recorded 1804, in journals of Lewis and Clark.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with hard, also see between a rock and a hard place; cold (hard) cash; come down (hard) on; die hard; drive a (hard) bargain; go hard with; no hard feelings; play hardball; play hard to get; school of hard knocks; tough (hard) row to hoe.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The turmoil surrounding the election risks delaying the hard work of
  reconstruction even further.
This giant reptile had a hard shell covered in leather and needed to come
  ashore to lay eggs.
That's a hard question.
Luckily, portable hard drives have begun to take the mind-numbing tedium out of
  copying your precious files.
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