\ ˈhärd-ˈbȯi(-ə)ld How to pronounce hard-boiled (audio) \

Definition of hard-boiled

1 of an egg : boiled until both white and yolk have solidified
2a : devoid of sentimentality : tough a hard-boiled drill sergeant
b : of, relating to, or being a detective story featuring a tough unsentimental protagonist and a matter-of-fact attitude towards violence
3 : hardheaded, practical hard-boiled business decisions

Did you know?

As a writer of local color, Mark Twain often used colloquialisms and regionalisms that were unfamiliar to many of his readers. When some of these expressions eventually caught on in the language at large, they were traced back to Twain. For example, he is credited with the first printed use of blow up ("to lose self-control") in 1871, of slop ("effusive sentimentality") in 1866, and of the phrase sweat out ("to endure or wait through the course of") in 1876. Hard-boiled is documented as being first used by Twain in 1886 as an adjective meaning "emotionally hardened." Apparently, Twain and others saw the boiling of an egg to harden the white and yolk as a metaphor for other kinds of hardening.

First Known Use of hard-boiled

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of hard-boiled was in 1589

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Cite this Entry

“Hard-boiled.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hard-boiled. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of hard-boiled for Spanish Speakers


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