hard knocks

plural noun

Definition of hard knocks

: rough, unsparing treatment (as in use or in life) Commercial-strength squares—baked clay, ceramic, vinyl or rubber stand up to hard knocks at home.Apartment Life especially : difficult or painful experiences or circumstances This is a testimonial, above all, of hard knocks, from a mother's absence and a family's sacrifice to care for his older, tubercular brother to the betrayal by White House patrons and staff. — Roger Morris often used in the phrase school of hard knocks Romances with men are the curriculum you'll need to determine what's right for you and what isn't. I'd prefer if you'd learn quickly and easily, rather than at the school of hard knocks. — Dave Singleton

Examples of hard knocks in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In Atlanta on Tuesday, Murray might as well have been studying at the school of hard knocks. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Spurs still searching for early-season sync," 6 Nov. 2019 That might have all been surmountable — the team is used to hard knocks, a fickle crowd and endless friendly jabs from the competition — had the noise stayed outside the locker room. Jamie Tarabay, New York Times, "Wallabies Promise Unpredictability at the Rugby World Cup After Embracing Tumult," 17 Sep. 2019 The drama’s mid-section reveals the hard knocks and combustion, both mechanical and human, that went into the development of a car that could beat the Italians, and how it got done in one year. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Ford v Ferrari': Film Review | Telluride 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 Every Indian founder goes through more than a fair share of hard knocks. Prasanna Krishnamoorthy, Quartz India, "A serial entrepreneur explains how startup founders can find an outlet for their stress," 2 Aug. 2019 In the $150,000 California Dreamin’ Stakes on Friday evening, Grecian Fire and jockey Mike Smith overcame some hard knocks and a lengthy inquiry to capture the 1 1/16th miles turf race. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Former Hollendorfer horse Grecian Fire wins California Dreamin’ for Desormeaux," 26 July 2019 The thrill of playing alongside girls and women just like them, who reveled in the sweat and hard knocks of an all-out training session, was enough. Liz Clarke, courant.com, "USWNT fights for equal pay as it fights to defend World Cup title," 3 June 2019 Their arrival will also shine a spotlight on this historic riverside town, 22 miles west of the British capital, where real estate has struggled to absorb a series of hard knocks, from tax increases to political upheaval. ... Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "Harry and Meghan’s Move to the Burbs Shines Spotlight on Windsor," 12 Dec. 2018 Their characters connect in a way that makes sense for two people who’ve seen most of life and know the precise nature and contours of its hard knocks, yet retain just enough idealism to fall in love. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Robert Redford bids farewell to the silver screen in the pitch-perfect The Old Man & the Gun," 28 Sep. 2018

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

1758, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of hard knocks was in 1758

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Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hard knocks.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hard%20knocks. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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delight or enjoyment

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