hard / härd/ • adj. 1. solid, firm, and resistant to pressure; not easily broken, bent, or pierced: a hard mattress ground frozen hard as a rock. ∎ (of a person) not showing any signs of weakness; tough: the hard, tough, honest cop. ∎ (of information) reliable, esp. because based on something true or substantiated: hard facts about the underclass are maddeningly elusive. ∎ (of a subject of study) dealing with precise and verifiable facts: efforts to turn psychology into hard science. ∎ (of water) containing mineral salts that make lathering difficult. ∎ (of prices of stock, commodities, etc.) stable or firm in value. ∎ (of science fiction) scientifically accurate rather than purely fantastic or whimsical: a hard SF novel. ∎ (of a consonant) pronounced as c in cat or g in go.2. requiring a great deal of endurance or physical or mental effort: stooping over all day was hard work | she found it hard to believe that he could be involved. ∎ putting a lot of energy into an activity: he'd been a hard worker all his life. ∎ difficult to bear; causing suffering: times were hard at the end of the war he'd had a hard life. ∎ not showing sympathy or affection; strict: he can be such a hard taskmaster. ∎ (of a season or the weather) severe: it's been a long, hard winter. ∎ harsh or unpleasant to the senses: the hard light of morning. ∎ (of wine) harsh or sharp to the taste, esp. because of tannin.3. done with a great deal of force or strength: a hard blow to the head.4. potent, powerful, or intense, in particular: ∎ (of liquor) strongly alcoholic; denoting distilled spirits rather than beer or wine. ∎ (of apple cider) having alcoholic content from fermentation. ∎ (of a drug) potent and addictive. ∎ denoting an extreme or dogmatic faction within a political party: the hard left. ∎ (of radiation) highly penetrating. ∎ (of pornography) highly obscene and explicit.• adv. 1. with a great deal of effort: they work hard at school. ∎ with a great deal of force; violently: it was raining hard.2. so as to be solid or firm: the mortar has set hard.3. to the fullest extent possible: put the wheel hard over to starboard.PHRASES: be hard on1. treat or criticize (someone) severely: you're being too hard on her.2. be difficult for or unfair to: I think the war must have been hard on her.3. be likely to hurt or damage: the monitor flickers, which is hard on the eyes.be hard put find it very difficult: you'll be hard put to find a better compromise.give someone a hard time inf. deliberately make a situation difficult for someone.go hard with dated turn out to (someone's) disadvantage: it would go hard with the poor.hard and fast (of a rule or a distinction made) fixed and definitive: it is impossible to lay down any hard and fast rules.hard as nailssee nail.hard at it inf. busily working or occupied: they were hard at it with brooms and mops.hard by close to: he lived hard by the cathedral. hard feelings feelings of resentment: there are no hard feelings, and we wish him well.hard going difficult to understand or enjoy: the studying is at times hard going.hard hit badly affected: hard hit by falling oil prices.a hard nut to crack inf. a person or thing that is difficult to understand or influence.hard of hearing not able to hear well.hard on (or upon) close to; following soon after: we followed hard on their tracks.hard up inf. short of money: I'm too hard up to buy fancy clothes.the hard way through suffering or learning from the unpleasant consequences of mistakes: his reputation was earned the hard way.play hard to get inf. deliberately adopt an aloof or uninterested attitude, typically in order to make oneself more attractive or interesting.DERIVATIVES: hard·ish adj.hard·ness n.