from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A layer of hard subsoil or clay.
  • noun Hard, unbroken ground.
  • noun A foundation; bedrock.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The more or less firmly consolidated detrital material which sometimes underlies a superficial covering of soil.
  • noun Hence Hard, unbroken ground.
  • noun The lowest level; lowest foundation; a firm footing for effort or upward progress: as, prices have reached hard-pan.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The hard substratum. Same as Hard pan, under hard, a.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A distinct layer of soil that is largely impervious to water.
  • noun A dry lake.

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

  • noun crust or layer of hard subsoil encrusted with calcium-carbonate occurring in arid or semiarid regions


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Caliche is also known as hardpan, calcrete, kankar (in India), or duricrust. - Business News

  • Caliche is also known as hardpan, calcrete, kankar (in India), or duricrust. - Business News

  • Some of the farmers down here tell me confidentially that "hardpan" has been found on their neighbors 'farms, but I have not talked with any one who has any on his own farm.

    The Story of the Soil; from the Basis of Absolute Science and Real Life,

  • Among other impediments to water reaching the roots, such as hardpan, soil compaction, soil layering, and low salt, is a condition known as water recession.

    Western Farm Press RSS Feed

  • Caliche is also known as hardpan, calcrete, kankar (in - Business News

  • Away across the desert's hardpan horizon the waves of heat rippled, taunting me with a mirage of hope.


  • It ended at a strip of Texas lawn—lace-work of crab grass on hardpan—inside the fence.

    Happy Landings

  • The predominant natural plant communities are Needlegrass grasslands, and Northern hardpan vernal pools are common.

    Hardpan Terraces

  • Subsoils contain a layer enriched with lime and/or gypsum, which may develop into a caliche hardpan.

    Intermountain Semidesert Province (Bailey)

  • The film's settings and characters are standards, familiar representations of the Old West, etched into the hard stone of the landscape: the wide expanses of dusty hardpan, the flat-top mesas and rocky abutments jutting up out of the ground.



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  • I disagree with the definition listed for this word. Hardpan is not limited to arid or semiarid regions as anyone who has dealt with forest soil in the American Southeast knows. Hardpan can refer to any subsoil that is substantially more impermeable than the soil above it.

    December 5, 2007

  • Pomegranate, see discussions of WeirdNet. We've all gone on ad nauseum (and with lots of fun) about the bizarre definitions doled out by WordNet (the greyish text next to words).

    December 5, 2007