hard

1 of 2

adjective

harder; hardest
1
a
: not easily penetrated : not easily yielding to pressure
hard surfaces
an uncomfortably hard chair
b
of cheese : not capable of being spread : very firm
2
a(1)
of wine or beer : having a bitter or acidic taste
(2)
: having a high concentration of alcohol
hard spirits like vodka and whiskey
b
of beverages : containing alcohol
hard seltzer/lemonade/cider
c
: characterized by the presence of salts (as of calcium or magnesium) that prevent soap from lathering
hard water
3
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
5
a
: firmly and closely twisted
hard yarns
b
of fabrics : having a smooth close napless finish
a hard worsted
6
a
: 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
7
a(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
(4)
: expressed in a clear and decisive way : leaving no doubt
Offers to install an electric door opener at her own expense were met with a hard no from the garage landlords, whose old-fashioned sensibilities dictated that their tenants use multiple manual locks to secure the space. Ronnie Koenig
The editor [Gene Policinski] said he told Ashe that "USA Today does not print unconfirmed stories from unattributed sources, but in the absence of a hard denial, or confirmation, the information seemed credible and we would continue to pursue the story." William C. Rhoden
see also hard pass
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
8
a(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
9
a
: 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
10
a(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

hard

2 of 2

adverb

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Hunger, hard work and dedication are needed to master the food and fashion game. Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2022 Hospital officials thanked residents for their hard work in handling — with other hospital workers — a significant increase in emergency department visits and admissions. Jenna Portnoy, Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2022 Ciscomani has said his family’s immigrant experience and growing up in a working-class family taught him the importance of hard work, conservative values and optimism. The Arizona Republic, 15 Nov. 2022 The female side of the rap game was also well-represented, as GloRilla and Latto both earned recognition for their hard work. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, 15 Nov. 2022 Speaking of hard work: the Bruins praised Foligno, who was in the dirty areas on the first two goals and stood up for a teammate. Matt Porter, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Nov. 2022 Rather than risk a turkey fryer explosion (always remember to thaw!) or burned potatoes, Chicagoland restaurants will do all the hard work for you. Lauryn Azu, Chicago Tribune, 11 Nov. 2022 At the flag’s center is the state’s symbol, the beehive, a nod to progress and hard work, the task force said. Palak Jayswal, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Nov. 2022 CAVU Consumer Partners offers a team of experts ready to roll their sleeves up and do the hard work of taking this brand to the next level. Meimei Fox, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022
Adverb
Customers rave about the low-profile vacuum’s ability to snake through hard-to-reach places that most bulky vacs miss. Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2022 The results indicate there’s a limit to the appeal of Hodgson’s tough-on-crime, hard-on-immigration rhetoric even in Bristol County, where a ballot measure to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses failed by 13 points. Alexander Thompson, BostonGlobe.com, 9 Nov. 2022 The ships that probed the northern islands of Canada were searching for a cheaper, simpler trade route to hard-to-access partners. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 9 Nov. 2022 There is depth to his look—a natural laidback appeal that is so far from try-hard. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 7 Nov. 2022 The project took nearly a year to complete and involved conducting numerous interviews and searching for hard-to-find footage in order to visually tell the story. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, 4 Nov. 2022 Should the store rebrand as the place that has hard-to-find titles — classic films and others that still aren’t available on streaming? Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune, 3 Nov. 2022 Ragland's plans fit what the Missouri Valley Conference is —a play-hard, rebounding and defending league. Matthew Vantryon, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Nov. 2022 Desperation, betrayal, and some occasionally hard-to-stomach choices ensue. The Editors, Outside Online, 3 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Adverb

Middle English, from Old English heard; akin to Old High German hart hard, Greek kratos strength

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near hard

Cite this Entry

“Hard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hard. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

hard 1 of 2

adjective

1
: not easily penetrated, cut, or divided into parts : not soft
2
a
: high in alcoholic content
hard cider
b
: containing substances that prevent lathering with soap
hard water
3
: stable and high in value and often convertible into gold
hard currency
4
a
: physically fit
b
: resistant to stress or disease
c
: free of weakness or defects
5
a
: firm entry 1 sense 2a, definite
a hard agreement
b
: based on clear fact
hard evidence
c
: being thorough, intense, and searching
a hard look
d
: lacking sympathy or tender feelings : unfeeling
a hard heart
6
a
: difficult to endure : harsh, severe
hard words
a hard winter
b
: resentful sense 2
hard feelings
c
: strict sense 1
drives a hard bargain
d
: physically or mentally difficult
a hard problem
hard work
7
: diligent, energetic
a hard worker
8
a
: sharply or harshly defined or outlined
hard shadows
b
: sounding as in cold and geese respectively
used of c and g

hard

2 of 2

adverb

1
a
: with great effort or energy
work hard
try hard
b
: in a violent manner : fiercely
the wind blew hard
2
a
: in such a manner as to cause hardship, bitterness, or pain
the storm hit them hard
b
: with bitterness or grief
took the defeat hard
3
: in a firm manner : tightly
hold hard to something
4
: to the point of hardness
dry hard
5
: close in time or space
the school stood hard by a river

Medical Definition

1
: not easily penetrated : not easily yielding to pressure
2
a
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
4
a
: 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
hardness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on hard

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