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 Each sports a 1/0 premium heavy wire Mustad hook and a UV clearcoat finish impervious to the hard knocks inherent with crappie habitat. Colin Moore, Field & Stream, "What’s New in Crappie Gear and Baits for This Season," 19 Nov. 2020 Shaver was a survivor, though, in spite of the hard knocks and his hell-raising ways. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "Billy Joe Shaver, outlaw country pioneer, dead at 81," 28 Oct. 2020 Bosa often sounded excited to be enrolled in Williams’ school of hard knocks. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ Nick Bosa losing matchups with Trent Williams, but gaining an education," 20 Aug. 2020 As if the earth needed a few hard knocks on its side. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Cicadia," 17 Aug. 2020 For the struggling restaurant industry, the hard knocks keep coming. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "Prego, Nancy's Hustle, other Houston restaurants close for in dining, return to takeout only," 24 June 2020 Batoning will turn a dry, seasoned 4-inch-thick piece of kindling into flame-catching pieces with a few hard knocks. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Timeless Camping Skills," 5 June 2020 Fishing tackle is naturally subject to rough handling, both on the water and off it, and spincasters can stand up to more than a few hard knocks without incurring functional damage. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Reasons to Fish with a Push-Button Reel," 1 June 2020 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

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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Time Traveler for hard knocks

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The first known use of hard knocks was in 1758

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Statistics for hard knocks

Last Updated

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hard knocks.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hard%20knocks. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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