Definition of hard up adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


    hard up

    BrE BrE//ˌhɑːd ˈʌp//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌhɑːrd ˈʌp//
    (informal) Poverty and famine
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  1. 1having very little money, especially for a short period of time They’re not really as hard up as they say they are. After he lost his job he was so hard up he couldn’t afford the price of a beer. Synonymspoordisadvantaged needy impoverished deprived penniless hard upThese words all describe somebody who has very little or no money and therefore cannot satisfy their basic needs.poor having very little money; not having enough money for basic needs:They were too poor to buy shoes for the kids.disadvantaged having less money and fewer opportunities than most people in society:socially disadvantaged sections of the communityneedy poor:It’s a charity that provides help for needy children.impoverished (journalism) poor:Thousands of impoverished peasants are desperate to move to the cities.deprived [usually before noun] without enough food, education, and all the things that are necessary for people to live a happy and comfortable lifepoor, needy, impoverished or deprived?Poor is the most general of these words and can be used to describe yourself, another individual person, people as a group, or a country or an area. Needy is mostly used to describe people considered as a group: it is not used to talk about yourself or individual people:poor/​needy children/​families They were too needy to buy shoes for the kids.Impoverished is used, especially in journalism, to talk about poor countries and the people who live there. To talk about poor areas in rich countries, use deprived.penniless (literary) having no money; very poor:He died penniless in Paris.hard up (informal) having very little money, especially for a short period of time:I was always hard up as a student.Patterns poor/​disadvantaged/​needy/​impoverished/​deprived/​penniless/​hard-up people/​families poor/​disadvantaged/​needy/​impoverished/​deprived areas poor/​disadvantaged/​impoverished countries a(n) poor/​disadvantaged/​impoverished/​deprived background See related entries: Poverty and famine
  2. 2hard up (for something) lacking in something interesting to do, talk about, etc. ‘You could always go out with Steve.’ ‘I'm not that hard up!’ The newspapers must be hard up for news if they’ve got to publish stories like that (= they must have very little real news).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: hard up

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