1 adjective FIRM TO TOUCH
1 firm and stiff, and difficult to press down, break, or cut: Diamond is the hardest substance known to man. | The plums are much too hard to be eaten now. | The chairs in the waiting room felt hard and uncomfortable.
—opposite soft (1) DIFFICULT
2 difficult to do or understand: This year's exam was much harder than last year's. | be hard for sb: It must be hard for her, bringing up three kids on her own. | be hard to come by (=be difficult to get or find): Good jobs are hard to come by these days. | the hardest thing is: The hardest thing is going to be telling her parents.
—opposite easy 1 (1)
3 hard to tell/say difficult to know: It was hard to tell whether Katie really wanted to go.
4 find sth hard to believe to think that something is probably not true: I find it extremely hard to believe that he didn't know.
5 hard to take difficult to accept or believe: She found all this sudden concern for her welfare rather hard to take.
6 A LOT OF EFFORT using or involving a lot of mental or physical effort: It's been a long hard day. | hard work: It's not easy running a business - it takes a great deal of hard work.
7 hard going
a) difficult to do and needing a lot of effort
b) boring: I find most of Sartre pretty hard going.
8 too much like hard work used to say that you do not want to do something because it will be too much effort
9 make hard work of to make something you are trying to do seem more difficult than it really is
10 hard-earned/hard-won achieved after a lot of effort
11 be hard at it informal to be very busy doing something: Sarah was hard at it on her computer.
12 a period of time that is hard is one when you do not have enough money and have a lot of problems: times are hard: Times were hard and we were forced to sell our home.
13 have a hard life to have many problems and not have much money or comfort: Miners used to have a very hard life.
14 it's hard on/for sb used to say that a situation causes a lot of problems and difficulties for someone: It's hard on the kids having their father in hospital.
15 showing no feelings or sympathy: He had a hard face and cold blue eyes. | I'm afraid I said some very hard things to her. | You're a hard man, Mr Dawson.
16 be hard on to treat someone in a way that that is unfair, unkind, or too strict: You mustn't be too hard on David - he's been under a lot of pressure lately.
17 a hard taskmaster/master someone who makes people work too hard
18 STRONG/NOTAFRAID informal strong, ready to fight, and not afraid of anyone or anything: I suppose you think you're really hard, don't you!
19 a hard case informal a strong and violent person
20 using force: Jane gave the door a good hard push.
21 FEEL SORRY FOR SB hard luck also hard lines BrE spoken used to tell someone that you feel sorry for them
22 hard cheese especially BrE spoken used to tell someone that you do not feel sorry for them
23 hard-luck story a story you tell someone to make them feel sorry for you
24 give sb a hard time informal
a) to deliberately make someone feel uncomfortable or embarrassed: Come on guys - stop giving me such a hard time!
b) to criticize someone a lot: My boss has been giving me a really hard time.
25 be hard on sth to have a bad effect on something: Running 50 miles a week is really hard on the knee joints.
26 no hard feelings spoken used to tell someone who you have been arguing with that you do not feel anger towards them any more
27 as hard as nails not feeling any emotions, especially fear or sympathy
28 learn/do sth the hard way to learn about something by a bad experience or by making mistakes
29 hard winter a very cold winter
—opposite mild 1 (1)
30 WATER hard water contains a lot of minerals and does not mix easily with soap
31 hard facts/information/evidence etc facts, information etc that are definitely true and can be proved: Police have several theories, but no hard evidence.
32 take a (long) hard look at to think about something without being influenced by your feelings: We need to take a long hard look at the whole system of welfare payments.
33 take a hard line on/over to deal with something in a very strict way: They've promised to take a hard line on law and order.
34 the hard stuff informal strong alcohol or illegal drugs
35 a hard left/right a sharp turn to the left or right
36 PRONUNCIATION a hard 'c' is pronounced, rather than /s/; a hard 'g' is pronounced, rather than
/dz/ — hardness noun (U): a material that would combine the flexibility of rubber with the hardness of glass —see also: drive a hard bargain drive 1 (9) 2 adverb
1 USING ENERGY/EFFORT using a lot of effort, energy, or attention: She had been working hard all morning. | I tried as hard as I could to remember his name.
2 WITH FORCE with a lot of force: Tyson hit him so hard that he fell back on the ropes. | The boys pressed their noses hard against the window. | It's raining hard.
3 be hard hit/be hit hard to be badly affected by something that has happened: The Italian economy has been particularly hard hit by the world recession.
4 be hard put/pressed/pushed (to do sth) informal to have difficulty doing something: We'd be hard pushed to get there by o'clock.
5 be hard done by informal to be unfairly treated: The other children felt hard done by because they didn't get any chocolates.
6 take sth hard informal to feel upset about something, especially bad news: She's taking it very hard.
7 laugh hard/cry hard etc to laugh, cry etc a lot: He laughed so hard he had tears in his eyes
8 hard on the heels of happening soon after something: Hard on the heels of the last week's defeat comes news of yet another disaster.
9 be hard on sb's heels to follow close behind or soon after someone: They fled in panic with the enemy hard on their heels.
10 baked/set hard made firm and stiff by being heated, glued etc
—see also: hard by, hard up, hard upon, play hard to get play 1 (10)

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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