\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

By nature, tough-acting, melt-proof options tend to be drier, clump faster, and leave your lashes feeling brittle and hard. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "The Best Waterproof Mascaras, According to Glamour Editors," 10 July 2018 These are exceptional Champagnes that are often hard to track down, but a great wine shop will have a few hidden away in the back room. 2. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "A Champagne Lover’s Guide to Hosting a Last-Minute Bastille Day Soirée," 13 July 2018 And there are likely to be more aftershocks that are hard to anticipate this far in advance. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "America under Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 Davis, who was hard of hearing, reportedly had slept through the death assembly. Will Higgins, Indianapolis Star, "She woke up in Jonestown — everyone was dead," 13 July 2018 True to Tahoe Park’s low-key nature, the first 44 homes, called The Grounds At Tahoe Park, are hard to find, tucked away on Fairgrounds Drive, a little loop street behind an aging housing project with no other connecting streets. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "Remember the old state fairgrounds? It’s Sacramento’s newest urban housing hot spot," 12 July 2018 That would be hard to argue with Humphreys and Mark Redman looking like imposing blockers on the outside in the running game. Andrew Turner, latimes.com, "CdM’s John Humphreys a person of interest for college football recruiters," 12 July 2018 The two looked very happy in the Big Apple—and her huge ring is hard to miss. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Hailey Baldwin Flaunts Her Massive Engagement Ring with Justin Bieber in NYC," 11 July 2018 For a guy my age the air can be a little hard to breathe, especially in the north. Sam Tanenhaus, Town & Country, "Can Chris Whittle Launch a Truly Global School?," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

But Preece deftly slowed hard through the corner and let Rocco drift up the track. Shawn Courchesne, courant.com, "Preece Holds Off Rocco for SK Modified Win At Thompson Speedwa," 15 July 2018 Illenium lends the dreamy horizons of his latest sounds, while Excision certainly bumps the drums as hard as the mood will allow. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Excision & Illenium Tease 'Gold (Stupid Love)' Collaboration: Hear the Sneak Peek," 13 July 2018 Rouda narrowly prevailed in a hard-fought primary to take on Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the fall. Emily Cadei, sacbee, "Democrats push for unity in California House races after bruising primary," 13 July 2018 When nearly 60 percent of voters in Oklahoma approved medical marijuana last month, pot advocates celebrated a hard-fought victory that was the culmination of a years-long effort to ease restrictions on the use of cannabis. Washington Post, "Conservative states balk at voter-approved medical marijuana," 13 July 2018 Brice Loose can tell you exactly what an elephant seal feels like: a furry inflatable squishy toy, not quite as hard as a basketball. Kasha Patel, Smithsonian, "How Data-Gathering Seals Help Scientists Measure the Melting Antarctic," 13 July 2018 Despite not being able to move his arms, with intensive therapy, Callahan could grip a pen hard enough to draw. refinery29.com, "How John Callahan Used His Disability To Fuel Fearlessly Funny Cartoons," 13 July 2018 Neither has Ross, aside from the hard-biting slider that remained an elite weapon until a two-start hiccup dulled some of the shine of his return to San Diego. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres' Tyson Ross looking to get back on track vs. Dodgers," 12 July 2018 Earlier that year, audiences had fallen hard for the ancien-régime agitprop of Downton Abbey, which premiered in January. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Donald Trump, Meghan Markle, and America’s enduring obsession with the British royals," 12 July 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

15 Oct 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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Comments on hard

What made you want to look up hard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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