\ ˈhärd How to pronounce hard (audio) \

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
(4) : expressed in a clear and decisive way : leaving no doubt Offers to install an electric door opener at her own expense were met with a hard no from the garage landlords, whose old-fashioned sensibilities dictated that their tenants use multiple manual locks to secure the space.— Ronnie Koenig The editor [Gene Policinski] said he told Ashe that "USA Today does not print unconfirmed stories from unattributed sources, but in the absence of a hard denial, or confirmation, the information seemed credible and we would continue to pursue the story."— William C. Rhoden — see also hard pass
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

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

Examples of hard in a Sentence

Adjective 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. Adverb 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That's hard to find in a young guy, but Davis has already had that instilled in him. Matt Young, Chron, 29 July 2022 The past two decades have been hard on the West’s conifer forests, which have seen wave after wave of bark beetle epidemics turning once green landscapes brown and gray. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 July 2022 Postal workers are already hard at work delivering ballots this year. Rick Rouan, USA TODAY, 29 July 2022 Making a net-positive impact as a company selling stuff is hard. Kassondra Cloos, Outside Online, 28 July 2022 What is hard, oddly-shaped, and brings you good fortune on Thanksgiving? Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 28 July 2022 Rolls-Royce is still hard at work on its first EV, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for some fun in the sun. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 28 July 2022 The concept is hard to study fully, because the way to test it out on humans would be unethical, said Jeanette Thompson-Wessen, a nutritionist in the United Kingdom who focuses on nutrition without the aim to lose weight. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 28 July 2022 The Arab American artist is known for his genre-defying, uplifting sound and mood-lifting, soulful lyrics about love and self-care — a breath of fresh air in a world that can be hard on us. Stephanie Williams, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Modern treasure hunters hit the site hard between the 1970s and early 1990s. Sean Kingsley, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 July 2022 The change hit Meta properties particularly hard, and has dealt the company a one-two punch in combination with the rise of TikTok, which is stealing Meta’s users—and therefore its advertisers, who want their products to be seen by the most people. Wired, 31 July 2022 Earlier this year, leaders criticized Prince George’s response to Latino communities hit hard by the pandemic. Daniel Wu, Washington Post, 31 July 2022 Farmers in the county have been hard hit, Barnett said. Dale Ellis, Arkansas Online, 30 July 2022 In Perry County, hit especially hard by the flooding, a creek next to an elementary school jumped its banks before sending a wall of water rushing into the building. Camille C. Knox, CBS News, 29 July 2022 Cable operators’ stocks have been hit hard in recent months amid challenges in broadband, which has long been a growth business, with some Wall Street analysts predicting that some cable firms could lose broadband users in the April-June period. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 July 2022 In Hazard, one of the towns hit hard in Eastern Kentucky, rainfall intensity has increased about 17% over the past 50 years, according to data from Climate Central. Connor Giffin, The Courier-Journal, 29 July 2022 Robinhood has been hit hard by the plunge in the broader stock market and crypto crash, which have scared away many would-be investors. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 29 July 2022 See More

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.

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

Adjective and Adverb

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

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Time Traveler for hard

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hard

Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hard. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for hard


\ ˈhärd How to pronounce hard (audio) \
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.

Choose the Right Synonym for hard


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.


\ ˈhärd How to pronounce hard (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on hard

Nglish: Translation of hard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hard for Arabic Speakers


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