Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hard adv.

[note George Parker, Life’s Painter (1789): ‘He went off at the fall of the leaf, at tuck ’em fair — he died d—d hard, and was as bad as brass’]

1. to a great extent, in a zealous manner.

[UK]J. Gay Beggar’s Opera II iv: Betty Doxy! Come hither, Hussy. Do you drink as hard as ever? You had better stick to good wholesome Beer; for in troth, Betty Strong-Waters will in time ruin your Constitution.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Song Smith 135: ‘Our captain,’ said he, ‘is what we tars call a good man; drinks hard, swears well, and fights better.’.
[UK]W. Scott St Ronan’s Well (1833) 389: My dear John, you have drunk hard—rode hard.
[US]C.M. Kirkland Forest Life I 111: My husband took on dreadful hard upon that.
[UK]D. Cook Paul Foster’s Daughter I 185: Well, I go and read with him all day—read hard—ever so, you know.
Milan Exchange (TN) 28 May 1/4: Hang hard! I’m going to throw out the grapnel.
[UK]B.L. Farjeon Mystery of M. Felix III 138: I did want ’ard to talk to ’im.
[US]‘O. Henry’ Trimmed Lamp (1916) 13: He isn’t a millionaire so hard that you could notice it, anyhow.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Human Touch 160: ’Op it, yer bla’guard, ’op it ’ard!
[US]F. Packard White Moll 215: Say, you listen hard, Bertha!
[US]P.G. Cressey Taxi-Dance Hall 51: They were always well dressed, and treated me nicely; I fell for them [Filipinos] hard.
[US]R. Chandler ‘The King in Yellow’ in Spanish Blood (1946) 51: It flops here, sister, it flops hard.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 103: hard [...] quite a lot; often precedes ‘fat righteous’ ‘I dug you hard fat righteous, man!’.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 118: Outsized, red-faced American men doing some hard drinking.

2. (US black) in an aggressive, hostile manner; intensely.

[[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd edn) n.p.: To dye hard, is to shew no signs of fear or contrition at the gallows; not to whiddle or squeak. This advice is frequently given to felons going to suffer the law, by their old comrades, anxious for the honour of the gang].
[UK]H. Kingsley Recollections of G. Hamlyn (1891) 89: At Cambridge, for the first year, he was probably the noisiest man in his college, though he never lived what is called ‘hard.’.
[UK]R. Hewitt White Talk Black Talk 117: Seh inna disya dance seh you smoke ganja ’ard.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 94: Babes flocked to guys who ragged hard. [Ibid.] 119: He’d cracked hard on my lady.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.
[US]C.W. Ford Deuce’s Wild 243: Tommy Mervin, the best ‘dozens’ player on my block came to my rescue when an older kid name Jared began hitting hard on my mother.
Stormzy ‘Shut Up’ [lyrics] All of my ex girls talk to me hard / Talk to my face, don’t talk to my palm.

3. very, extremely.

[US]N. Kingsley Diary (1914) 97: Mr. Hopkins is hard sick.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 412: Hard nicked – robbed of everything.

4. in a painful, problematic manner, e.g. of a prison sentence.

[US]J. London Tramp Diary in Jack London On the Road (1979) 48: If any Pinkertons or detectives are caught it will go hard with them.
[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 220: It’d go ’ard if Yaller Boots there was to set about ’er, I give you my word.
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 294: Mort Clipman was the one who was ‘doing it hard’.

In phrases

take it hard (v.)

(US) to react emotionally, usu. when distressed or angry.

[US]L. Hughes Mulatto in Three Negro Plays (1969) II ii: Then I cried and cried and told ma mother about it, but she didn’t take it hard like I thought she’d take it.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 153: Don’t take it so hard, kid.
[UK](con. 1940s) O. Manning Battle Lost and Won 214: Poor blighter’s taking it hard. eh?