\ ˈhärd How to pronounce hard (audio) \

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 gthe 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 directionssteer 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

Examples of hard in a Sentence

Adjective 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. Adverb 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 First, Hudson was a hard worker devoted to the Miller brewery. Annysa Johnson, jsonline.com, "A gifted electrician and handyman, Dale Hudson loved hunting, fishing and chasing balls on the golf course," 13 Mar. 2020 That’s not to say that starting up the show again after its hard restart doesn’t offer some promise. Tyler Coates, Wired, "Westworld’s Third Season Is a Good but Exhausting Reboot," 13 Mar. 2020 In older adults and people who already have health problems, the virus strikes harder, causing severe illnesses such as pneumonia. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Chinese government knew about coronavirus one month earlier than it claimed: report," 13 Mar. 2020 As more incredible shows and movies keep coming out, the competition is certainly getting fierce and fans have some hard decisions to make on who should take home a blimp and possibly get hit with some green goo on their way home. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2020 Postponed Due to Coronavirus," 12 Mar. 2020 Tandoors, the term given to traditional cylindrical Afghan bread ovens, have been dug into the hard soil of the valley. 1843, "Life in Moria, Europe’s refugee city," 12 Mar. 2020 The gig fix While the more traditional companies seek to strike a balance within their workforce, industries reliant on gig workers, such as food-delivery and ride-sharing, are harder to control. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Coronavirus is changing the way India’s startup employees work in office—and outside it," 12 Mar. 2020 The feature remained exclusive to hard-wired models, however, until this morning, when the company announced its new $229 Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. Popular Science, "Ring’s new battery-powered video doorbell captures footage before motion begins," 11 Mar. 2020 There are a lot of hard falls, a lot of bruises and scrapes, a lot of time spent alone, repeating mistakes and fine-tuning muscle memory. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, "Skate craft," 11 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Few stocks have been hit as hard by the coronavirus crisis as Cineworld, the world’s second-largest operator of movie theaters. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "A Coronavirus Disaster Story From the Movie Industry," 16 Mar. 2020 Whitmer campaigned hard for Biden during his recent Michigan primary win and also delivered the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union address. Tim Darnell, ajc, "Biden: I’ll pick a female running mate. Sanders: So will I, maybe. Who are some likely candidates?," 16 Mar. 2020 In 2005, Biden worked hard to add progressive reforms to a bankruptcy bill that was going to be passed with or without him. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden veers left on free college and bankruptcy," 15 Mar. 2020 Sanders, speaking after last week’s losses in Michigan and three other states, telegraphed his intention to press Biden hard on health care, climate change, and income inequality. Glenn Thrush, BostonGlobe.com, "For Biden and Sanders, the fight’s not personal," 15 Mar. 2020 In the suit, Corday asserted that Sony hadn't tried hard enough to distribute the series, miscalculated profits and deflated the licensing fee to NBC, but those claims took a big hit in a ruling this past August. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood Docket: When Can It Be Negligent to Film a Health Tragedy?," 13 Mar. 2020 Cruise lines have been hit particularly hard by the virus, with Princess Cruises struggling to contain outbreaks on its Diamond Princess and Grand Princess ships. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Princess Cruises cancels operations on all ships for 2 months due to coronavirus," 12 Mar. 2020 No doubt, hard-nosed defense has taken us to this point. Randy Jennings, Dallas News, "Wylie’s boys basketball season has produced landmark accomplishments — and a Hoosiers-style playoff run," 12 Mar. 2020 The situation in Seattle may be a preview of things to come for other cities around the nation whose population of people without homes could be hit hard as the virus spreads. Jen Monnier, Scientific American, "Coronavirus Poses Unique Threat to U.S. Homeless Population," 11 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for hard

Time Traveler

The first known use of hard was before the 12th century

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Statistics for hard

Last Updated

18 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hard. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for hard

How to pronounce hard (audio)

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 How to pronounce hard (audio) \
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.

Choose the Right Synonym for hard


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.

\ ˈhärd How to pronounce hard (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hard

Spanish Central: Translation of hard

Nglish: Translation of hard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hard for Arabic Speakers

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