hard·​scrab·​ble | \ ˈhärd-ˌskra-bəl How to pronounce hardscrabble (audio) \

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

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 In a hardscrabble neighborhood of Tunis, near a strip of beach where migrant boats depart, a smuggling kingpin, who connects migrants with skippers, outlines his brutal calculations in human lives. David Mckenzie, CNN, 22 July 2022 Born William Claude Dukenfield in Philadelphia, Fields survived a hardscrabble childhood to become a world-famous juggler, a vaudeville headliner and a Broadway star. cleveland, 10 June 2022 This was less the language of Kant than of fascist nationalist exaltation laced with Mr. Putin’s hardscrabble, brawling St. Petersburg youth. New York Times, 26 Mar. 2022 The improbable victory of the hardscrabble band that defended the town of Puebla against the French would be marked in history, but quietly. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 27 Apr. 2022 On a recent sunny but bone-chillingly windy morning, one of the colorful vaccination trucks pulled into a desolate parking lot in front of a mall in the hardscrabble neighborhood of Gröpelingen. New York Times, 12 Apr. 2022 Hope that greatness can emerge from a crowded and cluttered neighborhood two miles west of New York City, a place that fits the personality of its hardscrabble players. Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2022 But it’s not the only sign that change is afoot in this once rustic and hardscrabble region of the Lone Star State. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Mar. 2022 The 51-year-old with a nine-figure overall deal has demonstrated a knack for reviving yesteryear genres, luring Middle America viewers and making hardscrabble heroes feel fresh again. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of hardscrabble

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of hardscrabble was in 1879

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Dictionary Entries Near hardscrabble

hard science


hard seed

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Statistics for hardscrabble

Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hardscrabble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hardscrabble. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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