Word of the DayFriday, May 07, 2004
\HARD-skrab-uhl\ , adjective;
Yielding a bare or meager living with great labor or difficulty.
I remember it being green and humid, nothing like this hardscrabble land.
-- Elmore Leonard, Cuba Libre
Most inhabitants scratched out a living from hardscrabble farming, yet these newcomers were hopeful and enterprising.
-- Ron Chernow, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
A scenic town fed by rich snowbirds who reside a few months a year in gated communities, High Balsam also is home to the hardscrabble residents who frequent Margaret's food-pantry giveaways.
-- Deirdre Donahue, "A sweet 'Evensong", USA Today, December 2, 1999
Hardscrabble is formed from hard (from Old English heard) + scrabble (from Dutch schrabbelen, "to scratch").
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