hard ( harder comparative) ( hardest superlative )
1 adj Something that is hard is very firm and stiff to touch and is not easily bent, cut, or broken., (Antonym: soft)
He shuffled his feet on the hard wooden floor..., Something cold and hard pressed into the back of his neck.
hardness n-uncount oft with poss
He felt the hardness of the iron railing press against his spine.
2 adj Something that is hard is very difficult to do or deal with.
oft it v-link ADJ to-inf, ADJ to-inf
(=difficult) (Antonym: easy)
It's hard to tell what effect this latest move will have..., Our traveller's behaviour on the journey is hard to explain..., That's a very hard question.
3 adv If you work hard doing something, you are very active or work intensely, with a lot of effort.
ADV after v
I'll work hard. I don't want to let him down..., Am I trying too hard?
Hard is also an adjective., adj ADJ n
I admired him as a true scientist and hard worker.
4 adj Hard work involves a lot of activity and effort.
Coping with three babies is very hard work..., Their work is hard and unglamorous, and most people would find it boring.
5 adv If you look, listen, or think hard, you do it carefully and with a great deal of attention.
ADV after v
You had to listen hard to hear the old man breathe...
Hard is also an adjective., adj usu ADJ n
It might be worth taking a long hard look at your frustrations and resentments.
6 adv If you strike or take hold of something hard, you strike or take hold of it with a lot of force.
ADV after v
I kicked a dustbin very hard and broke my toe.
Hard is also an adjective., adj ADJ n
He gave her a hard push which toppled her backwards into an armchair.
7 adv You can use hard to indicate that something happens intensely and for a long time.
ADV after v
I've never seen Terry laugh so hard..., It was snowing hard by then.
8 adj If a person or their expression is hard, they show no kindness or sympathy.
usu ADJ n (Antonym: gentle)
His father was a hard man...
9 adj If you are hard on someone, you treat them severely or unkindly.
v-link ADJ on n (Antonym: soft)
Don't be so hard on him.
Hard is also an adverb., adv ADV after v
He said the security forces would continue to crack down hard on the protestors.
10 adj If you say that something is hard on a person or thing, you mean it affects them in a way that is likely to cause them damage or suffering.
v-link ADJ on n
The grey light was hard on the eyes..., These last four years have been hard on them.
11 adj If you have a hard life or a hard period of time, your life or that period is difficult and unpleasant for you.
It had been a hard life for her..., Those were hard times.
hardness n-uncount N of n
In America, people don't normally admit to the hardness of life.
12 adj Hard evidence or facts are definitely true and do not need to be questioned.
There are probably fewer hard facts about the life of Henry Purcell than that of any other great composer since the Renaissance.
13 adj Hard water contains a lot of calcium compounds that stop soap making bubbles and sometimes appear as a deposit in kettles and baths., (Antonym: soft)
14 adj Hard drugs are very strong illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine.
ADJ n (Antonym: soft)
15 If you feel hard done by, you feel that you have not been treated fairly.
hard done by phrase v-link PHR
The hall porter was feeling hard done by at having to extend his shift.
16 If you say that something is hard going, you mean it is difficult and requires a lot of effort.
be hard going phrase usu v-link PHR
The talks had been hard going at the start.
17 To be hard hitby something means to be affected very severely by it.
be hard hit phrase usu v-link PHR
California's been particularly hard hit by the recession.
18 If someone plays hard to get, they pretend not to be interested in another person or in what someone is trying to persuade them to do.
play hard to get phrase V inflects
I wanted her and she was playing hard to get.
19 If someone is hard putto do something or, in British English if they are hard pushedto do something, they have great difficulty doing it.
be hard put/pushed to do sth phrase usu v-link PHR to-inf
Mr Morton is undoubtedly cleverer than Mr Kirkby, but he will be hard put to match his popularity.
20 If you take something hard, you are very upset or depressed by it.
take sth hard phrase V inflects Maybe I just took it too hard.
hard and fast
If you say that there are no hard and fast rules, or that there is no hard and fast information about something, you are indicating that there are no fixed or definite rules or facts. adj usu with brd-neg, usu ADJ n
There are no hard and fast rules, but rather traditional guidelines as to who pays for what...
If you describe someone as hard-bitten, you are critical of them because they do not show much emotion or have much sympathy for other people, usually because they have experienced many unpleasant things. adj usu ADJ n (disapproval)
...a cynical hard-bitten journalist.
hard-boiled , hard boiled
1 adj A hard-boiled egg has been boiled in its shell until the whole of the inside is solid.
2 adj You use hard-boiled to describe someone who is tough and does not show much emotion.
She's hard-boiled, tough and funny.
Hard cash is money in the form of notes and coins as opposed to a cheque or a credit card. n-uncount
Hard cider is an alcoholic drink that is made from apples.
in BRIT, use cider
hard copy ( hard copies plural ) A hard copy of a document is a printed version of it, rather than a version that is stored on a computer. n-var
...eight pages of hard copy.
Hard core consists of pieces of broken stone that are used as a base on which to build roads.
(mainly BRIT) n-uncount
hard-core , hardcore, hard core
1 n-sing You can refer to the members of a group who are the most committed to its activities or who are the most involved in them as a hard coreof members or as the hard-core members.
oft N of n, N n
We've got a hard core of customers that have stood by us..., A hard-core group of right-wing senators had hoped to sway their colleagues.
2 adj Hard-core pornography shows sex in a very detailed way, or shows very violent or unpleasant sex. Compare soft-core.
hard currency ( hard currencies plural ) A hard currency is one which is unlikely to lose its value and so is considered to be a good one to have or to invest in. n-var
The government is running short of hard currency to pay for imports.
hard disk ( hard disks plural ) A computer's hard disk is a stiff magnetic disk on which data and programs can be stored. n-count
If you describe someone as a hard-drinking person, you mean that they frequently drink large quantities of alcohol. adj ADJ n
If you describe something such as a style, play, or article as hard-edged, you mean you admire it because it is powerful, critical, or unsentimental. adj
hard hat ( hard hats plural ) A hard hat is a hat made from a hard material, which people wear to protect their heads on building sites or in factories, or when riding a horse. n-count
You use hard-headed to describe someone who is practical and determined to get what they want or need, and who does not allow emotions to affect their actions. adj
...a hard-headed and shrewd businesswoman...
If you describe someone as hard-hearted, you disapprove of the fact that they have no sympathy for other people and do not care if people are hurt or made unhappy. adj
You would have to be pretty hard-hearted not to feel something for him.
If you describe a report or speech as hard-hitting, you like the way it talks about difficult or serious matters in a bold and direct way. (JOURNALISM) adj usu ADJ n (approval)
In a hard-hitting speech to the IMF, he urged third world countries to undertake sweeping reforms.
in AM, use hard labor
Hard labour is hard physical work which people have to do as punishment for a crime. n-uncount
The sentence of the court was twelve years' hard labour, to be served in a British prison.
hard left , hard-left
You use hard left to describe those members of a left wing political group or party who have the most extreme political beliefs.
(mainly BRIT) n-sing the N, oft N n
...the hard-left view that foreign forces should not have been sent.
in AM, usually use far left
1 n-uncount If you say that someone had some hard luck, or that a situation was hard luckon them, you mean that something bad happened to them and you are implying that it was not their fault.
We had a bit of hard luck this season...
2 n-uncount If someone says that a bad situation affecting you is just your hard luck, they do not care about it or think you should be helped, often because they think it is your fault.
INFORMAL poss N
The shop assistants didn't really want to discuss the matter, saying it was just my hard luck.
3 convention You can say `hard luck' to someone to show that you are sorry they have not got or done something that they had wanted to get or do.
Hard luck, chaps, but don't despair too much.
You use hard-nosed to describe someone who is tough and realistic, and who takes decisions on practical grounds rather than emotional ones.
INFORMAL adj usu ADJ n
If nothing else, Doug is a hard-nosed businessman.
hard of hearing
Someone who is hard of hearing is not able to hear properly. adj usu v-link ADJ
Hard porn is pornography that shows sex in a very detailed way, or shows very violent or unpleasant sex. n-uncount
hard-pressed , hard pressed
1 adj If someone is hard-pressed, they are under a great deal of strain and worry, usually because they have not got enough money. (JOURNALISM)
The region's hard-pressed consumers are spending less on luxuries.
2 adj If you will be hard-pressedto do something, you will have great difficulty doing it.
v-link ADJ to-inf
This year the airline will be hard-pressed to make a profit.
hard right , hard-right
You use hard right to describe those members of a right wing political group or party who have the most extreme political beliefs.
(mainly BRIT) n-sing the N, oft N n
...the appearance of hard-right political groupings.
in AM, usually use far right
A hard sell is a method of selling in which the salesperson puts a lot of pressure on someone to make them buy something. n-sing oft N n
...a double-glazing firm whose hard-sell techniques were exposed by a consumer programme.
hard shoulder ( hard shoulders plural ) Thehard shoulder is the area at the side of a motorway or other road where you are allowed to stop if your car breaks down.
(mainly BRIT) n-count usu the N in sing
in AM, use shoulder
hard up , hard-up
If you are hard up, you have very little money.
Her parents were very hard up.
hard-wearing , hard wearing
Something that is hard-wearing is strong and well-made so that it lasts for a long time and stays in good condition even though it is used a lot.
(mainly BRIT) adj
...hard-wearing cotton shirts.
in AM, use long-wearing
hard-wired , hardwired
1 adj A hard-wired part of a computer forms part of its hardware.
2 adj If an ability, approach, or type of activity is hard-wiredinto the brain, it is a basic one and cannot be changed.
Others think that the rules for what is `musical' are hard-wired in our brains to some degree.
If you describe something that someone has gained or achieved as hard-won, you mean that they worked hard to gain or achieve it. adj usu ADJ n
The dispute could destroy Australia's hard-won reputation for industrial stability.
hard-working , hardworking
If you describe someone as hard-working, you mean that they work very hard. adj
He was hardworking and energetic.
rock-hard , rock hard
Something that is rock-hard is very hard indeed. adj
During the dry season the land is rock hard.