hard knocks

plural noun

Definition of hard knocks 

: rough unsparing treatment (as in use or in life) often used in the phrase school of hard knocks

Examples of hard knocks in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

As a child, the school Collier most remembers is the one of hard knocks. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Graduate beats odds, leaves mark on Cal State San Marcos," 18 May 2018 Olson didn't mind taking a few hard knocks himself, either, if that sent the message through. Bruce Pascoe, azcentral, "Arizona unveils statue of former basketball coach Lute Olson," 12 Apr. 2018 Neither, for that matter, were the hard knocks and life experience that inform the best country music. Tom Roland, Billboard, "'Five More Minutes' Could Mean Plenty Of Years For Scotty McCreery," 16 Mar. 2018 Your poker education is usually going to be a school of hard knocks. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, "Seven ways to hasten the learning curve," 12 Feb. 2018 For a leader familiar with the hard knocks of politics, Whitman has been unafraid to flip-flop. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "HPE’s Meg Whitman Won’t Be Uber’s CEO. But She Could Be the First Female President," 22 Sep. 2017 And Kelly isn’t trying to escape Saban’s coaching school of hard knocks. Andrew Astleford, ajc, "Why the SEC needs Chip Kelly as soon as possible," 20 Sep. 2017 Taking hard knocks early in life could shove football players toward neurological problems later, a new study suggests. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Tackle football before age 12 may boost risks of cognitive, mood disorders," 19 Sep. 2017 The new-breed bluesman who graduated not from the school of hard knocks, but from the University of Tampa with an MBA. Dan Deluca, Philly.com, "Dan DeLuca's Mix Picks: Listen to the new tune from Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile," 31 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hard knocks.' 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 knocks

1849, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of hard knocks was in 1849

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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