hard·scrab·ble | \ˈhärd-ˌskra-bəl \

Definition of hardscrabble 

1a : being or relating to a place of barren or barely arable soil a hardscrabble farm hardscrabble prairies

b : getting a meager living from poor soil a hardscrabble farmer

2 : marked by poverty a hardscrabble cotton town a hardscrabble childhood

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Examples of hardscrabble in a Sentence

He lived a hardscrabble life. it was hard to eke out even a bare existence on the hardscrabble lands

Recent Examples on the Web

Walker fits that bill, and brings an inquisitive personality and a hardscrabble backstory that should fit in well with his new team. Steve Warns, San Antonio Express-News, "Writers’ roundtable: Who won the NBA Draft, what’s next with Kawhi Leonard," 23 June 2018 This hardscrabble region, having earlier experienced the departures of its oil and gas refineries, its railroad yards, its steel and iron mills, must once again deal with loss. Frank Fitzpatrick, Philly.com, "Ashes of an industry: A Pennsylvania tradition is dying, one baseball bat at a time," 14 June 2018 Velasquez in April pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and child abuse charges in the deaths of her children in Superior, a hardscrabble mining town of about 2,900 people some 60 miles east of Phoenix. CBS News, "Autopsies of 2 kids found dead in Arizona car shows they died of exposure," 3 July 2018 While the tight fit and multicolored horizontal stripes have proved appealing, the garments are actually meant to be kind of raggedy, capturing the hardscrabble life in 1870s Maine. Abby Ellin, BostonGlobe.com, "Sweaters in Broadway’s ‘Carousel’ come with quite a yarn," 29 May 2018 Kennedy had a hardscrabble upbringing as one of seven children raised by a single mother. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Seattle Times, "GOP voters eye Romney reboot in US Senate primary in Utah," 26 June 2018 Gina initially raised Tre’Dasia and Terry in a hardscrabble neighborhood in Youngstown, Ohio. Adam Himmelsbach, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Get on my back.’ How Terry Rozier and his sister bonded through struggle," 18 May 2018 Shtewi grew up in Zeitoun, a hardscrabble neighborhood on the southern outskirts of Gaza City. Fox News, "With little to lose, Gaza's men drawn to border protests," 16 May 2018 Once the 'most popular politician on Earth' Born in the hardscrabble northeast, da Silva rose through the ranks of the union in the country's industrial south. Peter Prengaman, Jill Langlois, USA TODAY, "Brazil's ex-president 'Lula' da Silva jailed for graft," 8 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hardscrabble.' 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 hardscrabble

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for hardscrabble

The first known use of hardscrabble was in 1879

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English Language Learners Definition of hardscrabble

: having poor soil

: having harsh and difficult conditions because of poverty

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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