\ˈhärd \

Definition of hard 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : not easily penetrated : not easily yielding to pressure hard surfaces an uncomfortably hard chair

b of cheese : not capable of being spread : very firm

2a of liquor

(1) : having a harsh or acid taste

(2) : strongly alcoholic

b : characterized by the presence of salts (as of calcium or magnesium) that prevent lathering with soap hard water

3a : of or relating to radiation of relatively high penetrating power : having high energy hard X-rays

b : having or producing relatively great photographic contrast a hard negative

4a : metallic as distinct from paper hard money

b of currency : convertible into gold : stable in value

c : usable as currency paid in hard cash

d of currency : readily acceptable in international trade

e : being high and unlikely to change hard prices

5a : firmly and closely twisted hard yarns

b of fabrics : having a smooth close napless finish a hard worsted

6a : physically fit in good hard condition

b : resistant to stress or disease : hardy a hard plant

c : free of weakness : unyielding a man of hard unbending will

7a(1) : firm, definite reached a hard agreement

(2) : not speculative or conjectural : factual hard evidence

(3) : important or informative rather than sensational or entertaining hard news

b : close, searching gave a hard look

c : free from sentimentality or illusion : realistic good hard sense

d : unlikely to respond in a kind or sympathetic way : unfeeling a hard heart

8a(1) : difficult to bear or endure hard luck hard times

(2) : oppressive, inequitable sales taxes are hard on the poor a hard restriction

b(1) : lacking consideration, compassion, or gentleness : callous a hard greedy landlord

(2) : incapable of being corrected or disciplined : tough, unruly a hard gang

c(1) : harsh, severe, or offensive in tendency or effect said some hard things

(2) : marked by resentment hard feelings

(3) : strict, unrelenting drives a hard bargain

d : inflicting physical discomfort or hardship : inclement hard winter

e(1) : intense in force, manner, or degree hard blows

(2) : demanding the exertion of energy : calling for stamina and endurance hard work

(3) : performing or carrying on with great energy, intensity, or persistence a hard worker

f : most unyielding or thoroughgoing the hard political right

9a : characterized by sharp or harsh outline, rigid execution, and stiff drawing hard forms

b : sharply defined : stark hard shadows

c : lacking in shading, delicacy, or resonance hard singing tones

d : sounding as in candy and geese respectively used of c and g the word arc is pronounced with a hard c

e : suggestive of toughness or insensitivity hard eyes

10a(1) : difficult to accomplish or resolve : troublesome hard problems the true story was hard to come by

(2) : difficult to comprehend or explain a hard concept

b : having difficulty in doing something hard of hearing

c : difficult to magnetize or demagnetize

11 : being at once addictive and gravely detrimental to health such hard drugs as heroin

12 : resistant to biodegradation hard detergents hard pesticides such as DDT

13 : being, schooled in, or using the methods of the natural sciences and especially of the physical sciences a hard scientist

14 of money : contributed (as by individuals or political action committees) directly to a particular candidate or campaign



Definition of hard (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : with great or utmost effort or energy : strenuously were hard at work

b : in a violent manner : fiercely hit the ball hard The wind was blowing hard.

c : to the full extent usually used in nautical directions steer hard aport

d : to an immoderate degree been drinking hard lately

e : in a searching, close, or concentrated manner stared hard at me

2a : in such a manner as to cause hardship, difficulty, or pain The economic downturn has hit the poor especially hard.

b : with rancor, bitterness, or grief took the defeat hard

3 : in a firm manner : tightly hold on hard

4 : to the point of hardness frozen hard

5 : close in time or space stands hard by the river

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Choose the Right Synonym for hard


hard, difficult, arduous mean demanding great exertion or effort. hard implies the opposite of all that is easy. farming is hard work difficult implies the presence of obstacles to be surmounted or puzzles to be resolved and suggests the need of skill or courage. the difficult ascent of the mountain arduous stresses the need of laborious and persevering exertion. the arduous task of rebuilding


hard, firm, and solid mean having a structure that can stand up against pressure. hard is used of something that does not easily bend, stretch, or dent. Steel is hard. firm is used of something that is flexible but also tough or compact. Exercise makes firm muscles. solid is used of something that has a fixed structure and is heavy and compact all the way through. They built a solid wall of bricks.

Examples of hard in a Sentence


She was asked a lot of hard questions. We're going to have to make some hard choices. It was very hard to find a replacement for her. Their story is hard to believe. It's hard not to worry about her. It's hard to tell what she's thinking. He has learned a hard lesson. His health has suffered from years of hard living. This old bicycle has obviously gotten some hard use.


You have to work hard in order to succeed. I know how hard she tried. She ran as hard as she could. We've thought long and hard about this problem. He hit the ball hard. The ball hit him hard on the wrist. He pressed his nose hard against the window. She pushed hard against the door, but it wouldn't open. The wind was blowing hard. The snow came down hard.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But like Constance said, it gets criticized exponentially harder than other pieces of pop culture because teenage girls like it. Constance Grady, Vox, "Reckoning with Twilight, 10 years later," 21 Nov. 2018 However, sometimes finding the perfect caption to go with it can be the hardest part. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "35 Winter Instagram Captions for Your Next Snow Day," 30 Oct. 2018 On the fourth day, as a hard rain fell, the women visited a horse farm. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 2018 Though 53 percent are hard-set on starting fresh sans holiday decor before January 1st, others aren't quite as pressed to end the holidays so soon. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Poll: How Early Is Too Early To Start Your Holiday Decorating?," 29 Oct. 2018 The hardest part of shutting down your pool is… deciding to shut down your pool. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Winterize Your Pool," 25 Oct. 2018 With his hard-partying days in the past and a sweet future ahead, Russell is eager to shed his former home . Becky Bracken, Real Estate News and Advice | Realtor.com®, "'Pawn Stars' Star Chumlee Cuts Price on His Las Vegas Party Pad," 2 Oct. 2018 The winner of last month’s crowded Republican primary, whose spokeswoman is LePage’s daughter, has endorsed his hard-line approach. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: GOP candidates caught in a bind on Medicaid," 13 July 2018 On the docks, activists protested Italy's hard-line position. Nicole Winfield, Fox News, "Italy forces new standoff, refuses to let migrants disembark," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Peña is a credible hard-charging good guy, enticing a gang of American DEA agents in Guadalajara to follow his lead, but real credit here goes to Luna—always an appealing actor but a revelation as a villain. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "The Last Kingdom," 21 Nov. 2018 The picture of Kavanaugh as a hard-drinking, hard-partying, boorish high-school student is so recognizable to those of us in the D.C. private school community. Jason Zengerle, Town & Country, "Brett Kavanaugh and the Private School Pecking Order," 16 Oct. 2018 Hurricane-force winds might also pick up a fighter jet, which is built to be lifted into the air, after all, and plunk it down hard. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "More Than a Dozen F-22s May Have Been Damaged or Destroyed by Hurricane Michael," 15 Oct. 2018 And there’s a Baldur’s Gate 3 in the works? 2003’s rumor mill is churning hard this week. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Walking Dead resurrected, Baldur's Gate 3 rumors, Into the Breach done quick," 12 Oct. 2018 Dowling, Monahan, and the countless others who sought real inclusion should not have had to fight so hard. Nestor Ramos, BostonGlobe.com, "Finally, a parade for all Southie to love. But what took so long?," 14 July 2018 Over 1 million people live in informal housing, which the storm hit particularly hard. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How architects and designers are rebuilding Puerto Rico," 20 Sep. 2018 Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was also present at the annual event today, and was photographed working really hard by answering two phones at once (in jest, of course). Eileen Reslen, Town & Country, "How Members of the Royal Family Are Commemorating 9/11," 11 Sep. 2018 Certainly playing a game or a video encode, or anything that works the GPU or CPU cores hard will drain the battery faster, but video playback is actually among the easiest chores a laptop can do today. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Which should you buy?," 11 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hard.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hard


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hard


Middle English, from Old English heard; akin to Old High German hart hard, Greek kratos strength


see hard entry 1

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Learn More about hard

Statistics for hard

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hard

The first known use of hard was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hard



English Language Learners Definition of hard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: very firm or solid : not easy to bend, cut, etc. : not soft

: physically or mentally difficult : not easy

: difficult to experience : severe or harsh : having a lot of pain, trouble, or worries



English Language Learners Definition of hard (Entry 2 of 2)

: with a lot of effort or energy

: in a very forceful way : in a loud and forceful way

: in a very direct and intense way


\ˈhärd \
harder; hardest

Kids Definition of hard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not easily cut, pierced, or divided : not soft

2 : difficult to do or to understand a hard job That book contains some hard words.

3 : diligent, energetic I'm a hard worker.

4 : difficult to put up with : severe a hard winter a hard life

5 : sounding as the letter c in cold or the letter g in geese

6 : carried on with steady and earnest effort hours of hard study

7 : unfeeling He's a hard boss.

8 : high in alcoholic content hard drinks

9 : containing substances that prevent lathering with soap hard water

Other Words from hard

hardness \ˈhärd-​nəs \ noun


harder; hardest

Kids Definition of hard (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : with great effort or energy I ran as hard as I could. “I would study very hard if I had a governess.”— Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted

2 : in a forceful way The wind blew hard.

3 : with pain, bitterness, or resentment She took the defeat hard.


\ˈhärd \

Medical Definition of hard 

1 : not easily penetrated : not easily yielding to pressure

2a of liquor : strongly alcoholic specifically : having an alcoholic content of more than 22.5 percent

b : characterized by the presence of salts (as of calcium or magnesium) that prevent lathering with soap hard water

3 : of or relating to radiation of relatively high penetrating power hard X-rays

4a : physically fit in good hard condition

b : resistant to stress (as disease)

5 : being at once addictive and gravely detrimental to health such hard drugs as heroin

6 : resistant to biodegradation hard detergents hard pesticides like DDT

Other Words from hard

hardness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on hard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hard

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hard

Spanish Central: Translation of hard

Nglish: Translation of hard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hard for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hard

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