\ 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


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.

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 Hilary Duff and her old friends at Lizzie McGuire have been hard at work filming the beloved early-aughts show’s reboot for the Disney+ streaming platform. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Here’s Your First Glimpse of Lizzie McGuire and Ethan Craft On Screen Together," 6 Dec. 2019 The informal economy, which is economic activity that falls outside the regulated economy and tax system, such as street vending or unregistered taxi drivers, is hard to measure. Yinka Adegoke, Quartz Africa, "Economists struggle to figure out where Africa’s informal economy starts or where it ends," 6 Dec. 2019 All this hard work has amounted to more than 3 million hours of family volunteer service across the country. Advertorial, Orange County Register, "Community: Disney Celebrates Family Volunteer Day Around the World," 2 Dec. 2019 Deciding how to dress for the office shouldn’t be hard. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "There’s a very simple hack for your work wardrobe," 28 Nov. 2019 Most new access badges use a higher signal that's harder to crack. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "5 Impressive Ways Criminals Use Wireless Signals to Steal Everything—Even Your Car," 27 Nov. 2019 My mother is a tiny woman who’s been dealt a hard hand in life. Vanessa Martir, Longreads, "‘To Be Well’: An Unmothered Woman’s Search for Real Love," 27 Nov. 2019 Getting the headline right is often the hardest part. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Media Has a Right-Wing Bias. Politico’s Founder Just Admitted It.," 8 Nov. 2019 Although the researchers detected only 14 out of 20 input photons, that number was enough to generate a hard-to-compute state space. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, "Quantum Computer Made from Photons Achieves a New Record," 6 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb With 2:35 left in the first, Colorado forwards Matt Nieto and Val Nichushkin went hard to the net, and Nichushkin dragged a backhander around Jaroslav Halak (16 saves on 19 shots). BostonGlobe.com, "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 8 Dec. 2019 But the frame of mind around a game like this is still to go hard and not hold back because of the playoff. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "Should Ohio State football rest Justin Fields and Shaun Wade; who’s the Buckeyes’ best offensive lineman? Hey, Doug," 7 Dec. 2019 Both are hard on themselves, sometimes to their detriment. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "ASU women's basketball freshman guard Sara Bejedi: 'I'm my worst enemy'," 5 Dec. 2019 The Democratic presidential field has pushed hard on cultural issues. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Trump Is Incidental to the Culture War," 4 Dec. 2019 That widespread dispassion is why Mijente and students on their college campuses are focused so hard on educating their peers. NBC News, "Campus activists find a target at the intersection of immigration and technology: Palantir," 2 Dec. 2019 Better yet, one day this same gray-haired lady will break her hand from pounding so hard on the window to try to scare them away. Cori Brown, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Cori Brown: Matching wits with squirrels," 1 Dec. 2019 So, the uncertainty that comes with climate change is particularly hard on women. Alice Park, Time, "How Climate Change Exacerbates Gender Inequality Across the Globe," 26 Nov. 2019 The Arnolds have also worked hard on public-opinion efforts, both by polling and bolstering journalistic efforts to document pharma’s clout. Lev Facher, STAT, "How a billionaire couple greased the skids for Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill," 26 Nov. 2019

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

10 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hard.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harder. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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.
\ 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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