Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “hard”

hard

adjective [-er/-est only]  /hɑrd/ us  

hard adjective [-er/-est only] (SOLID)

firm and solid, or not easy to bend, cut, or break: It hadn’t rained in a long time, and the ground was hard. He chewed on something hard and was afraid he’d broken a tooth.

hard adjective [-er/-est only] (DIFFICULT)

difficult to understand or do: hard questions to answer [+ to infinitive] It’s hard to say which of them is lying. It’s hard being a working mother. [+ to infinitive] Her handwriting is hard to read. She always does things the hard way (= makes things more difficult to do). I find her books hard going (= difficult and tiring).

hard adjective [-er/-est only] (USING EFFORT)

needing or using a lot of physical or mental effort: Qualifying as a surgeon is hard work. We had fun cycling, but it was hard to go up the hills.

hard adjective [-er/-est only] (SEVERE)

not pleasant or gentle; severe: She’s had a hard life. His boss is giving him a hard time (= is being unpleasant to him). Don’t be too hard on her – she’s just learning the job. Someone who is hard on a piece of clothing tends to damage it quickly: I’m very hard on shoes. If water is hard, it contains minerals (= chemical substances) that prevent soap from producing bubbles and cleaning easily.

hard adjective [-er/-est only] (DRUG)

(of a drug) dangerous and addictive (= giving you the habit of taking it), or (of a drink) containing a large amount of alcohol

hard adjective [-er/-est only] (BASED ON FACTS)

able to be proven: hard evidence

hard

adverb [-er/-est only]  /hɑrd/ us  

hard adverb [-er/-est only] (WITH EFFORT)

with a lot of physical or mental effort: You have to push the door hard to open it. If something is hard-earned or hard-won, it was achieved only after a lot of effort: hard-earned money/knowledge/fame hard-won freedoms/battles

hard adverb [-er/-est only] (SEVERELY)

in a severe or forceful way: They took the defeat hard. It’s raining hard. She stepped on my toe really hard.
(Definition of hard from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of hard?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Certainty, but you might be interested in these topics from the Chance and possibility topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “hard” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

throw

to send something through the air with force, especially by a sudden movement of the arm

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More