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

      

    hard

     adjective
    adjective
    BrE BrE//hɑːd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//hɑːrd//
     
    (harder, hardest) Describing work
     
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    solid/stiff
  1. 1  solid, firm or stiff and difficult to bend or break Wait for the concrete to go hard. a hard mattress Diamonds are the hardest known mineral. opposite soft
  2. difficult
  3. 2  difficult to do, understand or answer a hard choice/question hard to do something It is hard to believe that she's only nine. It's hard to see how they can lose. ‘When will the job be finished?’ ‘It's hard to say(= it is difficult to be certain). I find his attitude very hard to take (= difficult to accept). We're finding reliable staff hard to come by (= difficult to get). You are hard to please, aren’t you? hard for somebody (to do something) It's hard for old people to change their ways. It must be hard for her, bringing up four children on her own. opposite easy See related entries: Describing work
  4. 3  full of difficulty and problems, especially because of a lack of money synonym tough Times were hard at the end of the war. She's had a hard life. opposite easy
  5. needing/using effort
  6. 4  needing or using a lot of physical strength or mental effort It's hard work shovelling snow. I've had a long hard day. This season has been a hard slog. They had put in hours of hard graft. Synonymsdifficulthard challenging demanding taxingThese words all describe something that is not easy and requires a lot of effort or skill to do.difficult not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:The exam questions were quite difficult. It is difficult for young people to find jobs around here.hard not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:I always found languages quite hard at school. It was one of the hardest things I ever did.difficult or hard?Hard is slightly less formal than difficult. It is used particularly in the structure hard to believe/​say/​find/​take, etc., although difficult can also be used in any of these examples.challenging (approving) difficult in an interesting way that tests your ability.demanding difficult to do or deal with and needing a lot of effort, skill or patience:It is a technically demanding piece of music to play.taxing (often used in negative statements) difficult to do and needing a lot of mental or physical effort:This shouldn’t be too taxing for you.Patterns difficult/​hard/​challenging/​demanding/​taxing for somebody difficult/​hard to do something physically difficult/​hard/​challenging/​demanding/​taxing technically difficult/​challenging/​demanding mentally/​intellectually challenging/​demanding/​taxing
  7. 5  (of people) putting a lot of effort or energy into an activity She's a very hard worker. He's hard at work on a new novel. When I left they were all still hard at it (= working hard). Synonymsdifficulthard challenging demanding taxingThese words all describe something that is not easy and requires a lot of effort or skill to do.difficult not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:The exam questions were quite difficult. It is difficult for young people to find jobs around here.hard not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:I always found languages quite hard at school. It was one of the hardest things I ever did.difficult or hard?Hard is slightly less formal than difficult. It is used particularly in the structure hard to believe/​say/​find/​take, etc., although difficult can also be used in any of these examples.challenging (approving) difficult in an interesting way that tests your ability.demanding difficult to do or deal with and needing a lot of effort, skill or patience:It is a technically demanding piece of music to play.taxing (often used in negative statements) difficult to do and needing a lot of mental or physical effort:This shouldn’t be too taxing for you.Patterns difficult/​hard/​challenging/​demanding/​taxing for somebody difficult/​hard to do something physically difficult/​hard/​challenging/​demanding/​taxing technically difficult/​challenging/​demanding mentally/​intellectually challenging/​demanding/​taxing
  8. 6  done with a lot of strength or force He gave the door a good hard kick. a hard punch
  9. without sympathy
  10. 7  showing no sympathy or affection My father was a hard man. She gave me a hard stare. His voice was hard. He said some very hard things to me.
  11. not afraid
  12. 8(informal) (of people) ready to fight and showing no signs of fear or weakness Come and get me if you think you're hard enough. You think you're really hard, don't you?
  13. facts/evidence
  14. 9[only before noun] definitely true and based on information that can be proved Is there any hard evidence either way? The newspaper story is based on hard facts.
  15. weather
  16. 10very cold and severe It had been a hard winter. There was a hard frost that night. compare mild
  17. drink
  18. 11[only before noun] strongly alcoholic hard liquor (informal) a drop of the hard stuff (= a strong alcoholic drink) compare soft drink
  19. water
  20. 12containing calcium and other mineral salts that make mixing with soap difficult a hard water area Our water is very hard. opposite soft
  21. consonants
  22. 13(phonetics) used to describe a letter c or g when pronounced as in ‘cat’ or ‘go’, rather than as in ‘city’ or ‘giant’ opposite soft
  23. Word Origin Old English hard, heard, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hard and German hart.Extra examples I found the exam quite hard. If you tell the children the answers, it only makes it harder for them to do the work on their own. Life got very hard. The chairs felt hard and uncomfortable. The toffee was rock hard. ‘When will the job be finished?’ ‘It’s hard to say.’ Conditions were extremely hard in the camps. He’s as hard and uncompromising as any professional sportsman. I always found languages quite hard at school. I find his attitude quite hard to take. I’ve had a long hard day. It can be very hard for people to accept change. It was one of the hardest things I ever did. It’s hard to believe she’s only nine years old. It’s hard work shovelling snow. My grandmother had a hard life. Some viruses can be harder to identify. The ground is still rock-hard. The newspaper story is based on hard facts. The reason for their absence wasn’t hard to find. They were given a list of hard spellings to learn. We’re finding reliable workers hard to come by. a hard bench/​chairIdioms
      be hard on somebody/something
       
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    1. 1  to treat or criticize somebody in a very severe or strict way Don't be too hard on him—he's very young.
    2. 2  to be difficult for or unfair to somebody/something It's hard on people who don't have a car.
    3. 3to be likely to hurt or damage something Looking at a computer screen all day can be very hard on the eyes.
    (caught/stuck) between a rock and a hard place
     
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    in a situation where you have to choose between two things, both of which are unpleasant
    drive/strike a hard bargain
     
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    to argue in an aggressive way and force somebody to agree on the best possible price or arrangement
    give somebody a hard time
     
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    to deliberately make a situation difficult and unpleasant for somebody They really gave me a hard time at the interview.
    a hard/tough act to follow
     
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    a person who is so good or successful at something that it will be difficult for anyone else coming after them to be as good or successful She has been an excellent principal and will be a hard act to follow.
    (especially after a negative) that cannot be changed in any circumstances There are no hard and fast rules about this. This situation isn’t hard and fast. showing no sympathy, kindness or fear (British English, informal) used as a way of saying that you are sorry about something, usually ironically (= you really mean the opposite) difficult to understand or needing a lot of effort I'm finding his latest novel very hard going. (British English) used to tell somebody that you feel sorry for them ‘Failed again, I'm afraid.’ ‘Oh, hard luck.’
    a hard/tough nut (to crack)
     
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    a difficult problem or situation to deal with
    by having an unpleasant experience or by making mistakes She won't listen to my advice so she'll just have to learn the hard way.
    have a (hard/difficult) job doing/to do something
     
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    to have difficulty doing something You'll have a job convincing them that you're right. He had a hard job to make himself heard.
    make hard work of something
     
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    to use more time or energy on a task than is necessary
    used to tell somebody you have been arguing with or have beaten in a contest that you would still like to be friendly with them It looks like I'm the winner again. No hard feelings, Dave, eh? (informal) to make yourself seem more attractive or interesting by not immediately accepting an invitation to do something
    take a long (cool/hard) look at something
     
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    to consider a problem or possibility very carefully and without hurrying We need to take a long hard look at all the options.
    too much like hard work
     
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    needing too much effort I can't be bothered making a hot meal—it's too much like hard work.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: hard