\ 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

Tarek El Moussa has absolutely no hard feelings towards his ex Christina El Moussa and her new husband Ant Anstead, according to his latest Instagram post. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "Tarek El Moussa Just Opened Up About Christina's New Marriage," 11 Jan. 2019 Aboriginal Australian communities have lobbied long and hard for the return of their ancestors, and many Australian museums have in recent years made a concerted effort to repatriate Aboriginal Australian remains. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "DNA may reconnect Aboriginal Australian remains with modern communities," 27 Dec. 2018 Famous for his slinky dresses and his hard-partying ways, Halston was the designer of choice for and confidante to the best dressed women of the ’70s. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Halston’s Life Is Being Transformed Into a Miniseries Starring Ewan McGregor," 4 Jan. 2019 But as new harrowing stories come to light detailing the atrocities being carried out in Yemen, the conflict — and the US’s complicity in the violence — may become harder to ignore. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Saudi Arabia is reportedly outsourcing its war in Yemen to child soldiers," 30 Dec. 2018 This latest version follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, with a roomy interior, durable exterior, and a hard shell in titanium, black, and silver. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "RIMOWA's New Pop-Up Is One More Reason to Visit Aspen This Winter," 20 Dec. 2018 For me, the hardest part is actually falling asleep. Micaela English, Woman's Day, "'I Went on the Whole30 Diet and This Is What Happened'," 11 Dec. 2018 More details later While Intel disclosed its Sunny Cove and two follow up cores called Willow Core and Golden Core, hard details such as how many cores will be found in actual CPUs, and at what clock speeds, were held close to the vest. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Surprise! Intel reveals 10nm Sunny Cove CPU cores that go deeper, wider, and faster," 12 Dec. 2018 And in an attempt to prove there's no hard feelings, DeAndre even FaceTimed Reagan. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'The Voice' Slammed for Airing 'Insulting' Call Between DeAndre Nico and Reagan Strange," 11 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

And now, according to People, via a royal source, Prince Harry is working hard to define his new role within the royal family. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Prince Harry's Relationship with Prince William Is Changing Amid the Kensington Palace Split," 22 Dec. 2018 Disney is working hard to get its exclusive streaming service up and running by fall 2019, and The Mandalorian is set to debut on that service. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About Star Wars "The Mandalorian"," 5 Oct. 2018 Flannery was also a GE die-hard, just as his predecessor and his rivals for the job. Thomas Gryta And Ted Mann, WSJ, "GE Powered the American Century—Then It Burned Out," 14 Dec. 2018 Others, like Twisted Metal and Destruction Derby, end up as hard-to-control, muddy messes with frustrating camera work. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "PlayStation Classic review: A far-from-classic experience," 27 Nov. 2018 Your work hard, play hard attitudes would match perfectly! Danielle Fox, Seventeen, "Who's Your One Direction Love Match?," 24 July 2018 Bloomington has been hit particularly hard by the warehouse boom, according to Victoria. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Your online shopping is polluting this small town," 20 Nov. 2018 But here's the thing: In a world where every car is trying to be stylish and aggressive, maybe the Volkswagen Beetle doesn't need to try so hard. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "The VW Beetle Is Dead Because They Made It Too Good," 13 Sep. 2018 Mr Stoltenberg, a Norwegian whose job is to act as a kind of lightning-rod for storms raging inside NATO, tried hard to accentuate the positive. The Economist, "The American president lambasts his allies," 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

Adjective and Adverb

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

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Learn More about hard

Statistics for hard

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

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

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


a complex dispute or argument

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