Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hard adj.

1. pertaining to cash, coins, change (as opposed to notes).

[UK]Farquhar Recruiting Officer IV iii: Your mother has a hundred pound in hard money, lying [...] in the hands of a mercer.
[US]Maryland Journal 8 Sept. n.p.: [They] were going into the Indian country, loaded with hard money.
[US]Exchange Advertiser (Boston) 12 Oct. n.p.: Receiving taxes in hard money.
[UK]‘T.B. Junr.’ Pettyfogger Dramatized II iii: You had my hard cash.
[US]J. Neal Brother Jonathan II 137: It amounted to one dollar and a quarter, ‘hard money’; or ten shillings ‘York currency’—or two hundred and fifty half coppers.
[US]D. Crockett Col. Crockett’s Tour to North and Down East 210: By this system, New York has sound politics, sound morals, and hard money.
[UK]Puck 146: That cunning old file wont let her go with the hard cash down [F&H].
[US]S. Powers Afoot and Alone 199: Your true American miner has no opinion which is not worth hard money [DA].
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘A Cracksman’s Conscience’ Sporting Times 18 Jan. 1/3: I’d had a good haul at a banker’s once, some hundreds in hard cash, / Not in notes, so awkward to negotiate.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 91/1: Hard. (Carnival) Small change; coins, as distinguished from paper money.
[US]B. Jackson Thief’s Primer 104: Any retail store has to have a certain amount of money to open up on [...] as long as they’re handling hard money, you’re going to get some.
[US]R. Sabbag Snowblind (1978) 55: When the hard money is on the line, Zachary Swan is devastatingly efficient.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].
[US]T. Fontana ‘Strange Bedfellows’ Oz ser. 2 ep. 6 [TV script] How dumb you got to be to give hard or soft money for a decent place to crash and it’s false advertising?

2. tough, aggressive, violent.

[US]M.L. Weems Drunkard’s Looking Glass (1929) 77: Hurra, for me! a hard horse I am gentlemen, a proper hard horse, depend!
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 21 Feb. 3/2: Claret flies from both the warlike hard-uns.
[US]Sun (N.Y.) 14 Apr. 2/2: The prisoner was what some people would call a ‘hard colt’ [DA].
[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville General Bounce (1891) 27: ‘Was Rakes in time for parade?’ ‘Oh yes, he drank four bottles of claret and never went to bed — he’s a deuced hard fellow, Rakes.’.
[US]Dly Dispatch (Richmond, VA) 21 Mar. 2/6: His brigade has [...] got into more hard places and got out of them, than any other.
[US]J.H. Beadle Undeveloped West 304: If one has read a description of the ‘hard quarter’ of one city, he knows enough about all.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn 86: He got drunk, and was around till after midnight with a couple of mighty hard-looking strangers.
[Aus] ‘The Rocks Push Eisteddfod’ in Bird o’ Freedom (Sydney) in J. Murray Larrikins (1973) 87: Well, ole hard face? How’s yer moll?
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 73: Some are so hard they’ll deal in with porch climbers, and strong-arm people—stand for anybody or anything to get the money.
[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 25: I went into the ‘big house’ (penitentiary) a bad boy. I came out a hard man.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 71: Both were [...] dyed-in-the-wool hard guys.
[US]W. Guthrie Bound for Glory (1969) 325: The guy I was talking with was a big hard looker.
[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 101: He wasn’t hard and never beat any one up if they owed him snout.
[UK]P. Willmott Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 151: When I first got here I thought all the kids were harder – you know, tougher – than in the village where I used to live.
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 58: Trying to sound gutsy and hard.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 100: He’s hard you say / invincible to some.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 122: I can be a hard bastard when I want to.
blurb for A. Guthrie Kiss Her Goodbye back cover: With help from one of Scotland’s hardest men (and one of Scotland’s hardest women) [etc.].
[US]C.D. Rosales Word Is Bone [ebook] He looked hard, man. Like homies look right after they been let out the pen.

3. of alcohol, strong.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Aug. 14/1: [He] ate half a loaf, 14 pound of cheese, had a bottle of ale and one of porter (fact!), and asked for ‘somethin’ ’ard.’ The auctioneer had a bottle of three-star for special friends [etc].
[US]‘O. Henry’ Roads of Destiny 164: Jimmy had to take a seltzer-and-milk on the spot. He never touched ‘hard’ drinks.

4. (orig. US black/teen) on bad = good model, excellent, admirable; of an indidual, attractive, of an item, fashionable .

[US] ‘Hectic Harlem’ in N.Y. Amsterdam News 8 Feb, sect. 2: TOO HARD. – Exceptionally attractive, as ‘That’s a too hard chick.’ .
Duckett & Staple ‘Double Feature’ in N.Y. Age 28 Aug. 7/2: Who was ‘that hard chick Jack Elerbee was seen walking with the other night?’.
D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 19 July 13: [I] let them latch onto that hard drape I’m wearing [...] and let them dig them stomps an’ that sky.
[US]L.P. Boone ‘Gator Sl.’ AS XXXIV:2 155: Hard cats are well-dressed and very popular men.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 90: I took her to my pad, my pad was mad, I always featured a pad as hard as this.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 32: Champ spoke that bad central city argot, that tight, clipped, acid, hard hip lingo that’s calculated to keep outsiders in their place minding their own business.
[UK]R. Hewitt White Talk Black Talk 129: hard – excellent.
[US]Da Bomb Summer Supplement 7: Hard (adj.) Incredible or great.

5. (drugs) of narcotics, usu. heroin.

[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 63: Negro pushers are used to sell marijuana and harder dope in every town.
[US](con. 1940s) Malcolm X Autobiog. (1968) 198: I too would key myself to pull these jobs by my first use of hard dope [...] cocaine.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 73: If I find out you’re using hard shit I’m gonna pull your tongue out yo’ass.
[UK]J. Baker Walking With Ghosts (2000) 10: Lady Day had her first taste of hard drugs.
[UK]Observer Rev. 9 Jan. 10: Anybody in the band who starts doing really hard drugs will be out.

6. (US) of clothing, in a tough style, rugged.

[US](con. 1985–90) P. Bourjois In Search of Respect 46: Black people like to dress hard — like rugged.

In compounds


see separate entries.

hard baby (n.)

(US) a thug, a rough, tough man.

S. Crane in Phila. Press 20 Dec. in Stallman (1966) 182: Dat dar Kent, he kep’ de place at Green Gate Cou’t [...] an’ he was a hard baby – ’deed, he was.
hardback (n.)

(UK black) a villain, a thug, a ‘tough guy’.

[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 99: ‘Acts like a hardback man on road. You get me?’ ‘Courtney ain’t no hardback [...] At school this maaga little African brother broke him up.’.

see separate entries.

hard boy (n.) [var. on hard guy n. (1)]

a thug; also attrib.

[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 28 June n.p.: The Rialto has long been celebrated as the resort of many of the ‘hard boys’ of Boston.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 9: Very powerful men who had generally been old villains and hard boys themselves.
[US](con. 1968) D.A. Dye Citadel (1989) 117: Stop playing your fucking hard-boy games with me.
[US]A. Vachss Hard Candy (1990) 12: They got tired of sending round the hard boys.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 164: I could tell he was a hard boy.
[US]E. Weiner Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 3: Not if they’re hard boys on assignment to play stickball with my skull.
[US]G. Pelecanos Way Home (2009) 221: He did a little time with the hard boys out at Pine Ridge.
hard case

see separate entries.

hard chaw (n.) (also hardjaw) [SE chaw, chew]

(Irish) a tough person.

[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Best of Myles (1968) 74: No jars, of course, bar a few bottles of stout in the pantry for the hard chaws.
[Ire]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 210: He watched the crowds re-enter for the dance and listened carefully to hear if any of the ‘hard chaws’ of the place would try to make a bargain at the door.
[Ire]B. Behan Quare Fellow (1960) Act II: He was a young hard chaw like you in all the pride of his strength and impudence.
Eve. Press 21 Nov. n.p.: The gardaí had been issued with new white uniforms. It was a hot day, so he pulled up beside the first man [...] and said ‘Give us two choc ices, please.’ He belongs to the group of Dublin characters called ‘hard chaws’ [BS].
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 133: We flashed the letter to a fair cross section of hardchaws an’ so far they’re all for it.
[Ire]E. Mac Thomáis Janey Mack, Me Shirt is Black 23: Some hardchaw would roar out across the street, ‘Hey, you, come back with the dress suit’.
[Ire](con. 1930s) K.C. Kearns Dublin Street Life and Lore 183: If he was a hardjaw we’d get back at him.
[Ire]S. Heaney Midnight Verdict 32: You hardened chaw, I’ve waited long, now I’ll curry you raw! You’ve had your warnings, you cold-rifed blirt.
[UK]C. McPherson Port Authority 13: There was another fight brewing in the front garden between the local hardchaws and a load of crusties.
hard daddy (n.) [daddy n. (12)]

(orig. US prison) a masculine, ‘butch’ lesbian.

[US]Ward & Kassebaum Women’s Prison 136: The hard daddy is the label given to those who play the butch role.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 103: hard daddy (women’s prison sl) the lesbian ‘husband’ who sets up housekeeping with another woman.
hard dick (n.) [dick n.1 ]

(US) a ‘tough guy’.

[US]P. Dexter God’s Pocket 32: They’d pick a hard dick who wouldn’t know the difference if they stole a load of live chickens to keep an eye on the job.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shoedog 9: ‘The old man, he’s a hard dick, he comes by every coupla years for this money he says Grimes owes him’.
hard guy (n.)

see separate entry.

hard horse (n.) (also hard colt)

(US) a brutal, tyrannical person.

[US]M.L. Weems Drunkard’s Looking Glass (1929) 77: Hurra, for me! a hard horse I am gentlemen, a proper hard horse, depend! may-be I an’ta Roarer!
[US]Sun (N.Y.) 14 Apr. 2/2: The prisoner was what some people would call a ‘hard colt.’ [DA].
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues III 268: A brutal mate or officer ... hard-horse.
[UK]F.C. Bowen Sea Sl. 64: Hard Horse, A. A tyrannical officer.
hard jube (n.) [SNZE hard jube, a form of hard, suckable sweet]

(N.Z. prison) a hard man, a ‘tough guy’.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 84/2: hard jube n. one who is tough, staunch, resilient, a ‘hard man’.
hard knock (n.) [school of hard knocks n.]

1. a tough, aggressive individual.

[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 311: I had to fight to get [back] my place in the gang. I became a bit of a hard knock and proud of it.
[UK]D. Mitchell Black Swan Green 3: Black [i.e. clothes] means you fancy yourself as a hard-knock.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 44: What do you know about a hard knock life? It’s always been easy for you.
hard leg

see separate entries.

hard lot (n.)

(US) a rough, aggressive individual.

[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Tom Sawyer 228: I’m a kind of a hard lot,—least everybody says so.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn xi 88: She told [...] all about pop and what a hard lot he was [DA].
[UK]B. Pain De Omnibus 95: I once knowed a chap whart were a pretty ’ard lot.
hard mack (n.) [mack n.2 (1)]

a tough, aggressive, brutal pimp.

[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 35: A pimp who uses a great deal of charm and little violence or fear is called a sweet Mack or sugar pimp. One who uses brutality and threats is a gorilla pimp or hard Mack.
[US]J.L. Dillard Lex. Black Eng. 87: The other type [of pimp] may be a gorilla pimp or a hard Mack.
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 hard mack Definition: a cruel pimp Example: The Fourth Ward’s a bad place full of hard macks.
hard man (n.)

see separate entry.

hard mess (n.)

(US black) a discussion.

[US]D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam News 15 Feb. 13: Latch onto this hard mess [...] and you’ll dig what I’m laying down.
hard morris (n.) [? anecdotal; i.e. proper name Morris or SE morris (dancing), i.e. the ‘dancing’ around of a fighter]

(W.I.) a tough fighter.

[WI]cited in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).
hard nut (n.)

see separate entry.

hard root (n.)

(Irish) a tough, devil-may-care individual.

[Ire]‘Flann O’Brien’ At Swim-Two-Birds 109: That pome [...] It’ll live as long as there’s a hard root of an Irishman left by the Almighty on this planet.
J. Plunkett Bell Aug. n.p.: Maisie, who belonged to the establishment, giggled. ‘You’re a terrible hard root,’ she said admiringly [BS].
[Ire]H. Leonard A Life (1981) Act II: You won’t act the hard root when your time comes.
[Ire](con. 1920s) P. Crosbie Your Dinner’s Poured Out! 220: a hardroot a devil-may-care.
hard stuff (n.)

see separate entry.

hard ticket (n.)

1. (US) a ruthless, uncompromising, tough person.

[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms (4th edn) 703: A ‘hard ticket,’ a man whom other people had better let alone; an unscrupulous man to deal with.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues VII 120/1: A hard ticket, [...] an unscrupulous man; a ‘hard nut to crack’.
[Ire]Eve. Press 21 Nov. n.p.: A hard ticket [...] can take fivepence from a nun with the comment ‘Five dee is dead right – there y’are – God bless you, me oul’ flower.’ [BS].
[Ire](con. 1930s) K.C. Kearns Dublin Tenement Life 186: And there was a woman, a hard ticket, a stuffy-nosed old thing – and we were such a poor gang –and she’d a young one going to private school.
[UK]A. Close Official and Doubtful 63: He was always a hard ticket, you wouldnae kick him if he was six months deid.

2. (Irish) a humorist, an eccentric.

[Ire]Eve. Press 21 Nov. n.p.: A hard ticket is a conductor on the 79 to Ballyfermot, or any of the poorer runs where you can still use your sense of humour [...] A hard ticket says ‘Hurry up now, girls,’ to the mothers of fifteen children [BS].
hard white (n.)

(US black/drugs) crack cocaine.

[US Congress Crack Cocaine Crisis 26: In 1985 a new way to prepare and market freebase cocaine appeared [...] This involved preparing freebase with sodium bicarbonate [which] produced a hard, white material, which is now known as ‘crack’ or ‘rock’].
J.A. Inciardi War on Drugs 113: Crack is known by many pseudonyms. Most commonly, it might be cracks, hard white, white, or flavor .
Jay-Z ‘Coming of Age’ 🎵 We out here trying to make hard white into cold green.
G-Unit ‘You So Tough’ 🎵 You know I got that hard white, you know I got that tan n brow.
M.F. Olive Crack 15: As with any illegal drug, crack has many street names [...] hard white, white, caps, caviar, crills, barneys, yeyo, poprocks, foo-foo.
J. Cole ‘Breakdown’ 🎵 You made a milli off of servin hard white.
F. Poole Crackheads Only 34: Look nigger; if you want the hard white you’ll make it happen.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

hard-back (adj.) [the onset of back problems with advancing age] (W.I.)

1. approaching middle-age or older.

V.S. Naipaul Suffrage of Elvira 123: Is the sort of language to hear from a old, hardback, resign man like you?
[WI]F. Collymore Notes for Gloss. of Barbadian Dial. 59: Fancy an old hard back man like you saying a thing like that!
[UK]E. Braithwaite ‘Tizzic’ in Arrivants 260: Hick Tizzic was one o’ de few hard back man they got livin’ hey you could trust (except wid yuh daughter).
[WI]O. Senior ‘Real Old Time T’ing’ Summer Lightning 57: Miss Myrtella is a hard-back woman by now.

2. used of one who ought to know better.

[WI]cited in Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage (1996).
hard-baked (adj.)

1. (orig. US) stern, unrelenting.

[UK]J. Ray Proverbs 188: She is as crusty as that is hard baked. Somerset. One that is surly, and loth to do any thing.
[US]J.S. Robb Streaks of Squatter Life 73: It’s my opinion, these squirtish kind a fellars ain’t perticuler hard-baked.
[US]Wilmington Morn. Star (NC) 18 Sept. 3/2: ‘I’m a hard-baked old sinner,’ ‘No! Whoop! That’s my case to a dot’.
[UK]Music Hall & Theatre Rev. 15 Mar. 6/1: [A] weary, hardbaked smile flitted over the unshaved countenance of our stump smoker.
[US]Pittsburgh Dly Post (PA) 12 Feb. 24/2: The farmer isn’t the hard-baked fellow he’s cracked up to be.
Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL) 17 Apr. 4/3: A hard-baked old egg who wouldn’t stick for any monkey business.

2. constipated.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 94: Hard-baked: a dog when constipated is hard-baked.
hard bit (n.)

see separate entries.

hard body (n.)

(US) a physically trim, sexually attractive person.

[[US]D. Hammett ‘Ruffian’s Wife’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 57: How conceivably could Guy — her hard bodied, hard-nerved Guy — [...] be harmed by a perfumed, asthmatic fat man?].
[[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Men from the Boys (1967) 113: Big, hard body, out-of-towner with a twang. Sort of good looking].
Hardbodies [film title].
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 253: The main cove where the crowds gathered [...] to scope out the hardbodies, most of whom were male.
[US]J. Wambaugh Finnegan’s Week 160: Most of the hardbodies wore combinations of Day-glo shorts, tank tops [...] and cutoffs.
[US]‘Randy Everhard’ Tattoo of a Naked Lady 156: A hardbody like Teenie’s was better off naked.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 177: Lots of hard bodies out there [i.e. California], young guys looking to pick up good-looking divorcees.
hard-boiled (adj.)

see separate entry.

hard cheese (n.) (also hard Cheddar, hard fodder)

bad luck; usu. as hard cheese on..., hard cheese for...; the phr. may well imply minimal or non-existent sympathy.

[UK]Leicester Chron. 31 Aug. 4/4: ‘We come to get the woman liberated, as we think a month’s gaol for few words is hard cheese’.
[UK]G. Blink Tiger at Large in Webster Acting National Drama 13: Jem. His wages was too low. Don’t you think a pound a month, and find one’s self is hard cheese?
[UK]Leeds Times 28 Sept. 8/3: The ‘prime minister,’ we have heard. too, is in disgrace. It is hard cheese this after he has done his best.
[UK]Northampton Mercury 27 May 4/6: It was hard cheese to pay money for nothing.
[Scot]Elgin Courier 25 Sept. 3/5: It was ‘hard cheese’ at her time of life to be turned out of her living.
[UK]Sporting Times 2 Feb. 6/3: [N]ot content with low thoughts you must have suitable slangy words. Your bloody fines, your hard cheeses, and likewise hard crusts, et hoc genus omne, are natural to you as to stink is to a badger.
[UK]Sheffield Indep. 3 June 4/4: It’s rather hard cheese for Andrew too.
[UK]Sheffield Dly Teleg. 19 Sept. 2/2: Mr Frost denied the charge, but would pay the money, remarking that it was ‘hard cheese’.
[UK]Derbyshire Times 7 June 6/5: He also remarked that it was ‘hard cheese when a man couldn’t work’.
[UK]Leamington Spa Courier 6 Dec. 2/5: Manley [...] had the misfortune to kick it over the cross-bar, amid loud expressions of ‘hard cheddar’.
[UK]Magnet 22 Feb. 10: It was certainly ‘hard cheese’.
[UK]Magnet 27 Aug. 9: It’s pretty hard cheese if a chap can’t have an extra snooze on his birthday.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 31 Mar. 6/1: They held the lead for eighty-six minutes, losing it just as Referee Robertson was preparing to blow his whistle [...] t was hard cheddar.
[US]G.A. England ‘Rural Locutions of Maine and Northern New Hampshire’ in DN IV:ii 74: hard fodder, n. bad luck.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 12 June 4/5: Hard cheese that he can’t caatch a Mannum tabby.
[UK]The Post (Lanarks.) 10 Jan. 4/4: York City players are not getting their wages [...] Hard cheese.
[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 329: We’ve got going, but too late. And damned hard cheese, I call it.
[UK]M. Marshall Tramp-Royal on the Toby 274: Aye? Man, that was hard cheese.
[UK]A.P. Herbert Let Us Be Glum 54: [poem title] Hard Cheese.
[UK]Willans & Searle Complete Molesworth (1985) 49: Which was hard cheddar really.
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 35: ‘Hard cheese,’ I said to him.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 185: His dreams had all been shattered which is double hard cheese.
[Aus]M. Harris Angry Eye 110: That’s hard bloody cheese for the English-reading scholars.
[UK]S. Armitage ‘Not the Bermuda Triangle’ in Zoom 75: And as for the estate it is simply hard cheese.
[UK]Guardian Travel 12 June 2: Hard cheese for him. But I was well pleased.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 191: There is hard luck, bad luck expressed in forms such as hard cheddar and hard cheese, both of which convey a lack of sympathy, if not a distinct heartlessness.
R. Ohmann Politics of Knowledge xv: Hard cheese for poor countries: still another US-imposed regime in Afghanistan.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 610: [T]he sooner they’re [i.e. ‘the Red Sea Pedestrians’] all packed off to Palestine the better... hard cheese on Mustapha Mustapha of course.

see separate entries.

hard doer (n.) [ext. of doer n.2 (1)] (Aus.)

1. a character, an eccentric, one who never gives up despite any circumstances.

[Aus]Western Mail (Perth) 1 Dec. 52/2: From the point of view of the feeder they might justly be set down [...] as eminently hard doers, and at their best [...] they can but look ungainly, slab sided, thriftless animais.
[Aus]Cootamundra Herald (NSW) 4 July 2/6: [of a boat] Oh ! lor! her nose was smashed up and bent in, she did look a hard doer.
[Aus]Jerilderie Herald (NSW) 14 Dec. 5/3: Paget’s Horse [...] are 500 strong and the corps consists of ‘dukes’ sons, lords’ sons, &c.’ By Jove, they are ‘hard doers.’ Every one of them has the drawl of the ‘Johnny’ [...] They provide great amusement for the Bushmen.
Amer. Florist 19 317: Crane is a ‘hard doer’ around Cleveland. Casper Aul’s chrysanthemums are extra fine, especially Polly Rose.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 21 Apr. 14/1: The hard doer explaining that the names of the Apostles have been written on the slips of paper.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Nov. 44/3: [Y]ou seemed to be talking a bit loud. And you were all wrong. So I said I would look after you. But you’re a hard doer; and in looking after you I got bushed myself.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson Shearer’s Colt 23: Me father had some swell people in England, but he was a bit of a hard doer, and he got into some trouble.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 165: A bloke about thirty-five, looks like a hard doer and wears a tweed hat all squashed on his head.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxv 6/2: hard case: A bit of a no-hoper. Also hard doer.
[Aus]D. Ireland Glass Canoe (1982) 140: Shorty had always been a bit of a hard doer, and I didn’t know whether to believe him.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 55/1: hard doer incorrigible person, wag.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mud Crab Boogie (2013) [ebook] They were hard doers the Mud Crabs. But they were his hard doers. They were his team.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].

2. an amusing fellow, a ‘good sport’.

[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 55/1: hard doer incorrigible person, wag;.
hard dumpling (n.)

in boxing, a fist.

[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 189: Ned sent his ‘hard dumplings’ against Jack’s ‘organ-pipes’.
hard-earned (n.)

(Aus.) cash, money.

[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 57: [I]t was most unusual for Big Oscar to have that amount of hard-earned in any kind of kick, let alone this legitimate one [ibid.] 249: [His] good ole Aunty Vi from west Cronulla [...] literally only ever chanced her pension hard-earned on the Cup.
[Aus]P. Papathanasiou Stoning 131: Poor men bet their hard-earned on races about which they knew little.

see separate entries.

In phrases

hard enough to blow a dog off a chain (adj.)

(Aus.) of wind, very strong.

[Aus]J. Morrison Share House Blues 59: ‘River up, wind hard enough to blow a dog off a chain’.
[UK]N. Gemmell Bk of Rapture [ebook] Seagulls poured down to daily scraps and the wind could blow a dog off a chain.
[Aus]G. Conrad Surviving Being Born [ebook] The Santa Ana winds would bring dry hot dust in from the desert and could blow a dog off a chain.
[US]M. Riddell Same Dog, Different Shite [ebook] It’s slightly raining and the wind's strong enough to blow a dog off a chain.

see separate entries.

hard hat (n.)

1. (US) a bowler hat.

Printer’s Ink 106 137/1: The economist, let us suppose, wears a ‘derby,’ otherwise a ‘hard hat’ .
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 51/1: Hard hat, a derby.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 181: The Australian equivalents of what the Englishman calls a bowler and the American a derby. Here are our contributions: boxer, [...] hard hat, [...] and peadodger.

2. (US) a construction worker.

[US]E.B. Davis ‘Paul Bunyan Talk’ AS XVII:4 222: hard hat. A safety engineer, because of these officials’ attempts to get loggers to wear helmets while working, as a protection against falling branches.
H.M. Newell [title] Hardhats.
[US]Sat. Rev. (US) 10 Oct. 20: When construction workers, some of them with crowbars, wade into a group of students, laying them about indiscriminately, not everyone joins in denouncing the hardhats.
[US]B. Moyers Listening to America 203: An old shipbuilder or a plumber or a lumberjack – you’d call them a hardhat back in New York – will want to give one of those kids a swat on the chops.
[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 58: The hard hats started mouthing off and one thing led to another.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 106: Gary goes salesman on the workers building the new wing at Bon Secours, unloading two more irons on the hard hats.
[US]N. Green Angel of Montague Street (2004) 232: The hardhats showed up [...] seemingly all at once.
hardhead (n.)

see separate entries.


see separate entries.

hard lines (n.)

see separate entry.

hard money (n.) [pun on sense 2 above and SE hard, difficult]

(US Und.) counterfeit money.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

see separate entries.

hard neck (n.) [i.e. to be able to stick one’s neck out under neck n. because it is so hard; note Deuteronomy 31:27 and 10:16, which use hard neck and harden the neck, to imply intransigence] (Irish / Scots)

cheek, impudence.

[Scot]Dundee Courier 25 Oct. 3/4: The expression used in the army to describe an unreasonable request for anything is ‘hard-neck’.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 20 Apr. 4/3: Men of the clerical order are to-day protesting against bands playing in public parks on Sunday. They have a very hard neck to do anything of the kind.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 17 Feb. 5/7: I am just going to suggest that have a ‘hard neck’ to ask any poor shareholder to support such a report.
[Scot]Post (Lanarks.) 21 Apr. 4/2: Hard Neck! [...] You might send down two men to dig the garden. I want to get my vegetables in.
[Ire]B. Behan Quare Fellow (1960) Act I: Corkmen and Northerners ... they’ve such bloody hard necks.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 357: You had the hard neck to pass the time of day with him.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 70: Mr. Hayes had said he’d help me any way he could, but even with my hard neck I couldn’t ask him.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. 🌐 Hard Neck (n): cheek.

see separate entries.

hard nut (n.)

see separate entry.


see separate entries.

hard one (n.)

see separate entries.

hard-pay man (n.)

(W.I.) a bad debtor, through either his inability or his unwillingness to pay.

[WI]cited in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).
hard-pushed (adj.)

in poor economic circumstances, in difficulties.

[UK]Leeds Intelligencer 11 Oct. 2/6: Our neighbours of the Mercury were hard-pushed on Saturday. They swagger, threaten, and drivel [...] but come out very lamely.
[US]A. Greene Perils of Pearl Street 123: As I said, at the end of six months we began to be hard-pushed.
[UK]Hereford Times 6 Mar. 8/1: [It] must be hard pushed when it resorts to such unmanly tactics.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 27 June 2/5: Russians are hard pushed for both these materials of warfare.
[Scot]Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser 5 Feb. 4/4: If he is hard pushed, he will find it more to his advantage gracefully to withdraw.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 20 Mar. 4/6: Another [Boot] Maker, hard Pushed, has sent in a Fine Lot, 20 to 30 per cent. under Wholesale.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Apr. 1/3: This is precisely the sort of inquiry which would suggest itself to a boat-load of castaways in mid-ocean, with food only sufficient to keep half the people alive till land is reached. Then kill the other half – and eat them too, if hard-pushed.
[UK]Sheffield Dly Teleg. 4 Apr. 4/8: Anti-Unionists are hard pushed when they seize upon the individual views of a private member.
[US]Ade Forty Modern Fables 14: Your Honor must be hard pushed if you have to tote such an Extensive Kit with which to defend it.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 1 Sept. 10/3: The Victorian railways are so hard pushed for rolling-stock [...] that Tait is now dragging out of the dust-heap some of the old, long-discarded Hobson’s Bay dog-boxes.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 161: It does strike me that they ought to lay off us Grangers that are hard pushed.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 16 Oct. 5/2: She knew her husband was ‘hard pushed’.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 29 Dec. 4/3: Burns suppers next month are to be hard pushed for haggis.
hard rock

see separate entries.


see separate entries.

hard shot

see separate entries.

hard skull-fry (n.) [the hot lye that is placed on the head to straighten one’s hair]

(US black) a straightened or ‘processed’ hairdo that is covered in hair-oil or cream.

[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 102: Up stomps a stud with a hard skull fry.
hard tack (n.) [tack n.1 ]

1. inadequate rations [naval use hard tack, ship’s biscuits, coarse food; SE hard, difficult/intoxicating].

Winchester Army Bull. (TN) 12 July 4/1: ‘Sow-belly’ should he breakfast on, rusty, poor and black, / Accompanied by coffee weak, and miserable hard tack.
[US]J.W. Haley Rebel Yell and The Yankee Hurrah (1985) 274: His ears were saluted with a yell of ‘hardtack!’.
[US]E. Custer Tenting on the Plains (rev. edn 1895) 289: He didn’t like hard-tack no better than they did.
[US]‘Oliver Optic’ Fighting Joe (1911) 65: The young staff officer [...] filled his haversack with ‘hard-tack,’ and leaped into the saddle.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 11 Sept. 4/7: Provisions are scarce at Pekin. Everyone is living on ‘bully beef’ and ‘hard tack’.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘A Word List From Montana’ in DN IV:iii 244: hardtack, n. Biscuit (not applying to ship’s biscuit) ‘These hot days I get tired of hardtack’.
[US]C. Sandburg ‘The Lane County Bachelor’ in Amer. Songbag 122: You may chew your hard-tack till you’re toothless and gray.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 8 Feb. 5: Their supply of fresh provisions is long since exhausted and tghey are down to bully beef and hard tack.
[NZ]D. Davin For the Rest of Our Lives 106: You’ve got plenty of grub. It’s only hard tack, but it may be all we’ll get for a day or two.

2. (Aus.) hard work.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Sept. 51/2: It’s hard tack, but we’re getting into the way of mixing it with other things.

3. (Irish) spirits, as opposed to beer.

[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 163: Not getting much chance to drink ‘the hard tack’, as he called it, he wasn’t just slinging it down the hatch.
[Ire]T. Murphy Conversations on a Homecoming (1986) 42: Give me a drop of the hard tack too, as well as the pint.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. 🌐 Hard Tack (n): spirits (usually whiskey), neat.
[SA]A. Lovejoy Acid Alex 237: I had already decided to los the hard tack. I only drank beer.
hard tail (n.)

1. (US) a mule, thus hard-tailed adj.

[UK]A.G. Empey Over the Top ‘Tommy’s Dict. of the Trenches’ 294: ‘Hard tails.’ Mules.
[US](con. 1918) L. Nason Top Kick 112: Them hard-tails o’ yours been fed yet?
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 207: Hard tails – Mules, usually old ones. So named because they show little response to the skinner’s whip.
[US]Z.N. Hurston Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1995) 40: Git up heah, you hard-tailed bastard!
[US]‘Bill O. Lading’ You Chirped a Chinful!! n.p.: Hardtail: Army mule.
[US]A. Lomax Folk Songs of North America 429: That [...] critter, known to Americans variously as the barnyard yodeller, the hard-tail, the jug-head, the long-eared chum and the Missouri humming bird.

2. (US) an experienced man.

‘W. March’ Company K 182: Frank Halligan....Why, I hadn’t thought of that old hard tail for years! [HDAS].
hard time/-timer

see separate entries.

hard times (n.) [SE hard times, a period of poverty]

(US) a cheap, poor quality fabric, which resembles heavy wool but is not much better than cotton shoddy and used for the cheapest of clothes; thus hard times party, someone who wears worn-out or seedy clothes.

[US] in AS XXII 203/1: At Conference, he appeared in character, with ‘hard-times’ coat and striped blanket, looking quite as much like a missionary as any of us [DA].
[US]S.M. Welch Recollections of Buffalo 1830–40 354: A kind of goods were manufactured [...] for men’s clothing, adapted for and called ‘Hard Times,’ a mixed cloth, of black and white or grey and black, spun and woven of coarse, loose thread, presenting the appearance of heavy wool mixtures, which was really nothing but a sort of cotton shoddy, and sold for twenty-five cents per yard.
[US]J. Lait ‘Omaha Slim’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 107: After the harvesting would be the gatherings and the barn dances and the hard times parties. [...] Why not walk in on them in the hard times party, enter thus on a laugh.
[US]Outing (N.Y.) Apr. 6/3: Well, Sparks, you might just as well hang up the rest of that shirt somewhere; it’s draped over your shoulders like a costume for a hard-times social [DA].
Aurora Beacon News (IL) 7 Nov. 21/6: This yearly dance has the aura of hard times parties as the guests come attired in blue jeans, slacks and sweaters [DA].
hard-top (n.)

(US black) a tough, aggressive woman.

[US]D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam News 26 Jan. 21: The two other little hard-tops! They looked like something that prowls around the zoo when the lights are out.

see separate entries.

hard washer (n.)

(US) a strong alcoholic drink.

[US]B. Traven Death Ship 49: I am drinking my hard washer, and ask, for another, straight.
hard way (n.)

1. (gambling) the making of an even point in a dice game by throwing a pair rather than two separate numbers; thus in pool, the making of a pot through a difficult rather than easy shot; also in fig. use.

[US]D. Runyon ‘Blood Pressure’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 81: ‘Charley,’ he says, ‘do you make it the hard way?’ [...] I never hear myself whether Charley makes his ten with a six and a four, or with two fives – which is the hard way.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 249: ‘There it is boys, the hard way!’ someone called out, with the gloating laughter of the triumphant.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 15: Spider was hot, he made four the hard way.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 70: But I always gave him a hard way to shovel and said, ‘Give me the works with a square back.’.
[US]H. Selby Jr Song of the Silent Snow (1988) 11: He was taking all kinds of bets and winning: gagging his point, the hard way, over and under 7.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 20: Her screwball wandering eye that looked like the five ball off the eight, the hard way.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 114: There were other ways you could bet. Like Hard Ways, where you had to throw the same two numbered dice.

2. (UK prison) a sentence served without remission.

[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
hard word (n.)

see separate entry.

go hard in the paint (v.) (also basketball imagery)

(US campus) to commit oneself wholeheartedly.

[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014 Fall 3: GO HARD IN THE PAINT — do with intense drive and motivation: ‘Tom has been studying all week for this midterm’ Y: ‘Yes, he’s going hard in the paint’.
S.B. Taitt Get Your Head in the Game [ebook] You have to go hard in the paint. Play afraid but play hard.
hard as lard (adj.) [assonance]

(US black) excellent, wonderful, as good as one could desire.

[US] ‘The Signifying Monkey II’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 28: He was hard as lard and stashed ’way back.
[US](con. 1930s) C.E. Lincoln The Avenue, Clayton City (1996) 8: You got to be hard as lard and twice as greasy!

In exclamations