American English

Definition of hard adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    hard

     adjective
    adjective
    NAmE//hɑrd//
     
    (harder, hardest)
     
    jump to other results
    solid/stiff
  1. 1solid, 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. 2difficult 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
  4. 3full 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 shoveling snow. I've had a long hard day. This season has been a hard slog. Thesaurusdifficulthard 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 test questions were extremely difficult. It is difficult for young people to find jobs around here.hard not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:Teaching high school students is hard work. 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 abilitydemanding 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 difficult to do and needing a lot of mental or physical effort:The work can be very physically and mentally taxing.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). Thesaurusdifficulthard 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 test questions were extremely difficult. It is difficult for young people to find jobs around here.hard not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:Teaching high school students is hard work. 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 abilitydemanding 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 difficult to do and needing a lot of mental or physical effort:The work can be very physically and mentally taxing.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. 6done with a lot of strength or force He gave the door a good hard kick. a hard punch
  9. without sympathy
  10. 7showing no sympathy or affection My father was a hard man. She gave me a hard stare. His voice was hard.
  11. facts/evidence
  12. 8[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.
  13. weather
  14. 9very cold and severe It had been a hard winter. There was a hard frost that night. compare mild
  15. drink
  16. 10[only before noun] strongly alcoholic hard liquor (informal) a drop of the hard stuff (= a strong alcoholic drink) compare soft drink
  17. water
  18. 11containing calcium and other mineral salts that make mixing with soap difficult a hard water area Our water is very hard. opposite soft
  19. consonants
  20. 12(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
  21.  
    noun [uncountable] water hardness hardness of heart
  22. Idioms
      be hard on somebody/something
       
      jump to other results
    1. 1to treat or criticize someone in a very severe or strict way Don't be too hard on him—he's very young.
    2. 2to be difficult for or unfair to someone or 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
     
    jump to other results
    in a situation where you have to choose between two things, both of which are unpleasant
    drive/strike a hard bargain
     
    jump to other results
    to argue in an aggressive way and force someone to agree on the best possible price or arrangement
    fall on hard times
     
    jump to other results
    to find yourself in a bad situation in which you have many problems, usually about money After he lost his job, Mark had fallen on hard times.
    give somebody a hard time
     
    jump to other results
    to deliberately make a situation difficult and unpleasant for someone They really gave me a hard time at the interview.
    a hard/tough act to follow
     
    jump to other results
    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.
    hard and fast
     
    jump to other results
    (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.
    (as) hard as nails
     
    jump to other results
    showing no sympathy, kindness, or fear
    difficult to understand or needing a lot of effort I'm finding his latest novel very hard going.
    a hard/tough nut (informal)
     
    jump to other results
    a person who is difficult to deal with or to influence
    the hard way
     
    jump to other results
    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.
    make hard work of something
     
    jump to other results
    to use more time or energy on a task than is necessary
    no hard feelings
     
    jump to other results
    used to tell someone 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, right?
    play hard to get (informal)
     
    jump to other results
    to make yourself seem more attractive or interesting by not immediately accepting an invitation to do something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: hard