\ 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 g the 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 directions steer 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


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.


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

For one thing, digital transactions are harder to hide and thus easier to collect taxes on. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 While the combination of slowing growth overseas, fading tax-cut and spending stimulus and the cumulative effects of the Fed’s rate increases suggest the economy should slow, that hasn’t shown up in the hard data. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Warning to Investors: Powell Is No Greenspan," 15 Jan. 2019 In addition to hard data, there are opinion pieces, videos, and interviews by Gen Z, which add context and color to the information presented. Sally Holmes, Marie Claire, "Gucci Releases New Report on Gender Fluidity in Generation Z," 21 Dec. 2018 Much has been made of the fact that the U.S. divorce rate has dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016, largely thanks to millennials, but there’s no hard data that specifically clocks how many people are throwing parties to commemorate them. Leah Bourne, Glamour, "For Some Women, Finalizing Their Divorce Means Throwing an Actual Party," 28 Nov. 2018 The day took us to Volcano Village, up more hills, the hardest so far. James Sturz, WSJ, "Hawaii’s Big Island By Bike: A Heart-Racing, Spectacularly Scenic Trip," 12 Feb. 2019 And that’s understandable since cutting a hard, yet fragile material such as glass seems impossible for someone to do at home. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Cut Glass," 11 Feb. 2019 Anna's hard work to respect her late mother was so impressive that President Woodrow Wilson officially declared Mother's Day a national holiday in 1914. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "When Is Mother's Day? Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Holiday," 7 Feb. 2019 The question of who can drip the hardest, to borrow a phrase from Migos, remains a current hip-hop battleground that’s yet to produce a conclusive winner. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Who Drips Harder, Gucci Mane or Quavo?," 1 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Companies are also working hard to improve opportunities for women in the workplace. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Designer Anita Dongre Talks Dressing Priyanka Chopra, Beyoncé, and Sophie Turner," 14 Mar. 2019 Both stars have something in common—other than being inspiring, hard-working, and two of my idols—their taste in mattresses. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams Swear By This Mattress," 12 Mar. 2019 Steve Irwin's wife, Terri, has worked hard with her two children to celebrate the Crocodile Hunter's legacy—and he was recently honored with a Google Doodle for his 57th birthday. Katina Beniaris, Woman's Day, "Steve Irwin's Wife Reveals the Heartbreaking Reason Why She Hasn't Dated Since He Died," 22 Feb. 2019 But both the White House and Saudi lobbyists were also working hard to build support for US involvement in the Yemen war. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The bizarre story of Democrats helping Republicans stall action on Yemen," 15 Dec. 2018 And the sizzle reel of the collaboration is some hard-working, goosebump-raising goodness. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "Hurley and Carhartt Created Stylish Workwear We Didn't Know We Wanted," 9 Feb. 2019 Think hard before removing all those walls because there’s likely no going back. Kate Wagner, Curbed, "To renovate or not to renovate?," 5 Sep. 2018 And now, according to People, via a royal source, Prince Harry is working hard to define his new role within the royal family. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Prince Harry's Relationship with Prince William Is Changing Amid the Kensington Palace Split," 22 Dec. 2018 Disney is working hard to get its exclusive streaming service up and running by fall 2019, and The Mandalorian is set to debut on that service. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About Star Wars "The Mandalorian"," 5 Oct. 2018

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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Learn More about hard

Statistics for hard

Last Updated

5 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hard

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

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More Definitions for hard



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hard

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hard

Spanish Central: Translation of hard

Nglish: Translation of hard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hard for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hard

What made you want to look up hard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of authority or knowledge

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