from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Resistant to pressure; not readily penetrated.
  • adj. Physically toughened; rugged.
  • adj. Mentally toughened; strong-minded.
  • adj. Requiring great effort or endurance: a hard assignment.
  • adj. Performed with or marked by great diligence or energy: a project that required years of hard work.
  • adj. Difficult to resolve, accomplish, or finish: That was a hard question.
  • adj. Difficult to understand or impart: Physics was the hardest of my courses. Thermodynamics is a hard course to teach.
  • adj. Intense in force or degree: a hard blow.
  • adj. Inclement: a long, hard winter.
  • adj. Stern or strict in nature or comportment: a hard taskmaster.
  • adj. Resistant to persuasion or appeal; obdurate.
  • adj. Making few concessions: drives a hard bargain.
  • adj. Difficult to endure: a hard life.
  • adj. Oppressive or unjust in nature or effect: restrictions that were hard on welfare applicants.
  • adj. Lacking compassion or sympathy; callous.
  • adj. Harsh or severe in effect or intention: said some hard things that I won't forget.
  • adj. Bitter; resentful: No hard feelings, I hope.
  • adj. Causing damage or premature wear: Snow and ice are hard on a car's finish.
  • adj. Bad; adverse: hard luck.
  • adj. Proceeding or performing with force, vigor, or persistence; assiduous: a hard worker.
  • adj. Real and unassailable: hard evidence.
  • adj. Definite; firm: a hard commitment.
  • adj. Close; penetrating: We need to take a hard look at the situation.
  • adj. Free from illusion or bias; practical: brought some hard common sense to the discussion.
  • adj. Using or based on data that are readily quantified or verified: the hard sciences.
  • adj. Marked by sharp outline or definition; stark.
  • adj. Lacking in delicacy, shading, or nuance.
  • adj. Hard-core.
  • adj. Being a turn in a specific direction at an angle more acute than other possible routes.
  • adj. Metallic, as opposed to paper. Used of currency.
  • adj. Backed by bullion rather than by credit. Used of currency.
  • adj. High and stable. Used of prices.
  • adj. Durable; lasting: hard merchandise.
  • adj. Written or printed rather than stored in electronic media: sent the information by hard mail.
  • adj. Erect; tumid. Used of a penis.
  • adj. Having high alcoholic content; intoxicating: hard liquor.
  • adj. Rendered alcoholic by fermentation; fermented: hard cider.
  • adj. Containing dissolved salts that interfere with the lathering action of soap. Used of water.
  • adj. Linguistics Velar, as in c in cake or g in log, as opposed to palatal or soft.
  • adj. Physics Of relatively high energy; penetrating: hard x-rays.
  • adj. High in gluten content: hard wheat.
  • adj. Chemistry Resistant to biodegradation: a hard detergent.
  • adj. Physically addictive. Used of certain illegal drugs, such as heroin.
  • adj. Resistant to blast, heat, or radiation. Used especially of nuclear weapons.
  • adv. With strenuous effort; intently: worked hard all day; stared hard at the accused criminal.
  • adv. With great force, vigor, or energy: pressed hard on the lever.
  • adv. In such a way as to cause great damage or hardship: industrial cities hit hard by unemployment.
  • adv. With great distress, grief, or bitterness: took the divorce hard.
  • adv. Firmly; securely: held hard to the railing.
  • adv. Toward or into a solid condition: concrete that sets hard within a day.
  • adv. Near in space or time; close: The factory stands hard by the railroad tracks.
  • adv. Nautical Completely; fully: hard alee.
  • idiom hard and fast Defined, fixed, and invariable: hard and fast rules.
  • idiom hard of hearing Having a partial loss of hearing.
  • idiom hard of hearing One who has a partial loss of hearing.
  • idiom hard put Undergoing great difficulty: Under the circumstances, he was hard put to explain himself.
  • idiom hard up Informal In need; poor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Resistant to pressure.
  • adj. Requiring a lot of effort to do or understand
  • adj. Demanding a lot of effort to endure.
  • adj. severe, harsh, unfriendly, brutal.
  • adj. Unquestionable.
  • adj. Of drink, strong.
  • adj. Having a comparatively larger or a ninety-degree angle.
  • adj. Of water, high in dissolved calcium compounds.
  • adj. Sexually aroused.
  • adj. Having muscles that are tightened as a result of intense, regular exercise.
  • adj. Of a ferromagnetic material, having the capability of being a permanent magnet by being a material with high magnetic coercivity (compare soft)
  • adv. With much force or effort.
  • adv. With difficulty.
  • adv. Compactly.
  • adv. Near, close.
  • n. A firm or paved beach or slope convenient for hauling vessels out of the water

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not easily penetrated, cut, or separated into parts; not yielding to pressure; firm; solid; compact; -- applied to material bodies, and opposed to soft
  • adj. Difficult, mentally or judicially; not easily apprehended, decided, or resolved.
  • adj. Difficult to accomplish; full of obstacles; laborious; fatiguing; arduous
  • adj. Difficult to resist or control; powerful.
  • adj. Difficult to bear or endure; not easy to put up with or consent to; hence, severe; rigorous; oppressive; distressing; unjust; grasping
  • adj. Difficult to please or influence; stern; unyielding; obdurate; unsympathetic; unfeeling; cruel
  • adj. Not easy or agreeable to the taste; harsh; stiff; rigid; ungraceful; repelling.
  • adj. Rough; acid; sour, as liquors.
  • adj. Abrupt or explosive in utterance; not aspirated, sibilated, or pronounced with a gradual change of the organs from one position to another; -- said of certain consonants, as c in came, and g in go, as distinguished from the same letters in center, general, etc.
  • adj. Wanting softness or smoothness of utterance; harsh.
  • adj.
  • adj. Rigid in the drawing or distribution of the figures; formal; lacking grace of composition.
  • adj. Having disagreeable and abrupt contrasts in the coloring or light and shade.
  • adv. With pressure; with urgency; hence, diligently; earnestly.
  • adv. With difficulty.
  • adv. Uneasily; vexatiously; slowly.
  • adv. So as to raise difficulties.
  • adv. With tension or strain of the powers; violently; with force; tempestuously; vehemently; vigorously; energetically; ; hence, rapidly; nimbly.
  • adv. Close or near.
  • n. A ford or passage across a river or swamp.
  • transitive v. To harden; to make hard.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Solid and firm to the touch; firm in substance and texture, so as not to be readily altered in shape, penetrated, or divided; so constituted as to resist compressing, penetrating, dividing, or abrading action: opposed to soft.
  • Not loose, or not easily loosened; firmly formed; tight; fast: as, a hard knot; hence, binding; obligatory: as, a hard and fast promise.
  • Hardy; tough; enduring; resistant; sound.
  • Difficult.
  • Difficult to overcome; strong; powerful.
  • Difficult of solution, comprehension, decision, etc.; difficult to master, understand, determine, etc.; perplexing: as, a hard question or problem; a hard language to study; hard words (that is, big words, difficult to pronounce).
  • Difficult to accomplish or effect; necessitating or involving considerable effort or labor; arduous; laborious; fatiguing: as, hard work; a hard task.
  • Difficult to endure or bear; oppressive; harsh; cruel: as, a hard fate; a hard blow; hard treatment; a hard case.
  • Carried on, executed, or accomplished with great exertion or energy: as, a hard fight; a hard struggle; hard labor or study.
  • Close, persevering, or unremitting in application or effort; earnest; industrious: hard student.
  • Strenuous; violent; vehement: as, a hard rain; a hard trot or run; hard drinking.
  • Intellectually sturdy; practical; not visionary.
  • Severe in action or effect; rigorous: as, a hard frost; a hard winter.
  • Harsh.
  • Harsh in style, outline, or execution; stiff; conventional; unnatural. A picture is said to be hard when the lights and shades are too strongly marked and too close to each other.
  • Of a harsh nature or character; obdurate; depraved: as, a hard heart; hence, merciless; characterized by the absence of kindliness or affection; unfeeling; unfriendly; harsh in manner: as, a hard look; to cherish hard feelings toward one.
  • Austere; exacting; oppressive: as, to be hard upon one; a hard master.
  • Strict in money matters; close in dealing; grasping; avaricious.
  • Vexatious; galling: as, hard words or dealings; to call one hard names.
  • Wicked; bad; reprobate; profane: as, a hard character; a hard case.
  • Coarse, unpalatable, or scanty: as, hard fare.
  • Having a refractory quality; resistant in some use or application: said of fluids affected by or treated with lime, etc.: as, hard water. See hardness, 2
  • Strong; spirituous; intoxicating; fermented: as, hard liquors; hard drinks; hard cider.
  • In silk-manuf., retaining the natural gum: distinguished from soft: said of silk.
  • In phonetics: Uttered without sonant quality; surd or breathed, as distinguished from sonant or voiced.
  • Having a guttural as distinguished from a sibilant sound: said of c and g as in corn and get, as distinguished from c and g as in cite and gee.
  • 4 . Perplexing, puzzling, knotty.
  • 4 and Difficult, etc. See arduous.
  • Severe, Harsh, etc. (see austere); insensible, callous, obdurate, inflexible.
  • n. Something that is hard, in distinction from something similar or related that is soft; especially, the hard part of a thing that is partly soft, as the shell or rind.
  • n. A small marble.
  • n. A firm, solid path or way; a paved street or roadway; a gravelly passage, as over a fen or marsh.
  • n. A kind of pier or landing-place for boats on a river.
  • n. [capitalized] In United States history: A member of the more conservative of the two factions into which, in 1852 and the years immediately following, the Democratic party in the State of New York was divided, corresponding in general to the earlier faction called Hunkers. The extreme members were called the Adamantine Hards. Originally called Hard-shells.
  • n. In Missouri, about 1850, one of the supporters of Senator Benton: so called from their advocacy of “hard money,” but differing from the Softs mainly in that they were opposed to secession doctrines and to the nationalization of slavery.
  • n. plural A mixture of alum and salt used by bakers to whiten bread.
  • With force, effort, or energy; with urgency; forcibly; vehemently; vigorously; energetically: as, to work hard for a living; to run hard; to hold hard; it rains hard.
  • Securely; firmly; tightly; so as to be fast.
  • With difficulty.
  • Disagreeably; unpleasantly; grievously; vexatiously; gallingly.
  • So as to be difficult.
  • Roughly; heavily.
  • Close; near.
  • Fully; closely; to the full extent: especially in nautical use, in the commands for putting the helm hard alee, hard aport, hard up, etc.— that is, as far as it will go in the direction indicated.
  • So as to be hard in consistence: chiefly in composition: as, hard-burned, hard-baked, hard-boiled.
  • In want of money; needy; without resources: used absolutely.
  • Ill-provided with: followed by for: as, hard up for amusement. Nautical, pushed close up or as far as possible: said of the helm when put completely over to one side so as to turn the ship's head away from the wind.
  • To make hard; harden.
  • In vocalization, of a tone made with a rigid attitude of the vocal organs, so as to be wanting in mellowness and ympathy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. being distilled rather than fermented; having a high alcoholic content
  • adv. to the full extent possible; all the way
  • adj. (of light) transmitted directly from a pointed light source
  • adj. given to excessive indulgence of bodily appetites especially for intoxicating liquors
  • adv. with firmness
  • adj. characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion; especially physical effort
  • adv. causing great damage or hardship
  • adj. dispassionate
  • adj. produced without vibration of the vocal cords
  • adv. earnestly or intently
  • adv. slowly and with difficulty
  • adv. very near or close in space or time
  • adj. unfortunate or hard to bear
  • adv. indulging excessively
  • adj. very strong or vigorous
  • adv. into a solid condition
  • adj. not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure
  • adj. dried out
  • adv. with effort or force or vigor
  • adj. (of speech sounds); produced with the back of the tongue raised toward or touching the velum
  • adv. with pain or distress or bitterness
  • adj. resisting weight or pressure


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English heard.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English heard ("hard")


  • The pressure squeezes and pulls at my chest so hard, so hard… so very hard, it is like you can feel the muscle fibers tearing and popping as my heart races and slows erratically.

    admit-it Diary Entry

  • 'Well, as it is your graduation from kindergarten, and next year you will be in hard school ... '~-hard school was what Shana and Sylvia called it because they had homework - "you will probably not want to hear my little story ever again."

    Briar Rose

  • The fact is, _I work hard and I play hard_, and I believe each is equally necessary for good health and real happiness.

    The Idler Magazine, Volume III, March 1893 An Illustrated Monthly

  • 'These Christians are hard -- _hard_!' thought Eleanor sharply, closing her tired lids.


  • My God! Effie, it is a hard world -- it is hard, _hard_ to keep straight in it.

    A Girl in Ten Thousand

  • So near was the stranger, that we plainly heard the officer of the deck call out to his own quarter-master to "port, hard a-port -- _hard_ a-port, and be d---- d to you!"

    Ned Myers or, a Life Before the Mast

  • _For he, hard_ Head (_and_ hard, _sith like a_ Whet-stone) _It gives_ Wits _edge, and draws them too like_ Jet-stone) _Is_ Caput Mundi _for a world of School-tricks,

    The Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687)

  • Schulz says that the term hard landing may depend on how you define it. News

  • I am doing that, but to be honest, I find the label hard SF rather intimidating, yet I feel that's what I've written.

    mikandra: a thought about Science Fiction

  • She rubbed the goose bumps on her arms with both hands, her expression hard to read

    Black Magic


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  • HARD: Employed, as “I hard him to do the job.” Also a man’s name, as “Mah wife’s a cousin of Hard Hughes.”

    July 2, 2012