Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hard n.

1. of alcohol or drugs.

(a) sour or stale beer.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Hard Drink, that is very Stale, or beginning to Sower.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.

(b) plug tobacco.

[UK]T. Archer Pauper, Thief and Convict 83: Lounging on the rough wooden settles, and smoking pipefuls of ‘hard’ which they cut from a flat cake with their clasp-knives.
[US]‘Frederick Benton Williams’ (H.E. Hamblen) On Many Seas 305: ‘’Ave ye ever a bit o’ ’ard about ye, lads?’ said the officer. We each produced a small plug of ’ard tobacco [...] and pressed them upon him.
[UK]‘Red Collar Man’ ‘Chokey’ 172: Articles are valued as worth so many inches of ‘hard’, which is twist or plug tobacco, and one may often hear one lag say to another: ‘I’ll give you an inch for it‘.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

(c) (US) hard cider or whisky.

[US]J.C. Holmes Horn 129: The grandiloquent county politician stumping the hustings with a barrel of ‘hard’.
[US]R. Frede Nurses 252: Four or five fifths of vodka to start with. [...] Will you get me five fifths of the other kind of hard?

(d) (US/N.Z. drugs) hard drugs, i.e. cocaine and heroin; also a tradename for amyl/isobutyl nitrite.

[US]J. Rechy City of Night 232: Junk is pushed here — usually soft stuff: marijuana, pills — but you can also score for hard.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 60: You don’t transport no ‘hard’ in your ‘stomp’.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 14: because I was concerned about my health and didn’t want a habit, I made it a rule only to use ‘hard’ on the weekends.
[UK]R. Milward Apples (2023) 9: The Hard [i.e. amyl/isobutyl nitrite] made his cock soft.
[US]T.I. ‘About My Issue’ 🎵 Standing on the corner slanging slabs of hard / Just a young soldier no camouflage.

2. (UK Und., also the hard) coins (as opposed to notes); cite c.1850 refers to passing counterfeit coins.

[UK]J. Galt Lawrie Todd I Pt II 43: Four hundred and thirty-three dollars, which the old gentleman counted out to me in the hard.
[UK]Peeping Tom (London) 32 128/2: [G]entlemen engaged in the soft (forged notes), the hard (smashing), ramping, sneaking, doing a panny, making a reader, or picking up a cat and her kittens — the cat being a quart pot and the kittens pints!
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 6/1: They openly accused her of ‘copping the hard’ and leaving the ‘soft’ behind.
[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 296: Money itself has in the United States, as in England, probably more designations than any other object – liquor alone excepted [...] hardstuff, or hard.
[US]Omaha Dly Bee (NE) 15 Nov. 5/3: The ‘hard’ is metal money.
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 4 Feb. 5/6: Money in general is known as: The Actual, Coliander Seeds, [...] Hard, John Davis, King’s Pictures, [...] Nonsense, Oil of Angels, [...] Rowdy.
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 7 June 9/6: Slang of Money [...] It has been called ‘the actual, the blunt, hard, dirt, evil, flimsy, gilt, iron, John. Davis, lurries, moss, oil of angels, pieces, rowdy, spondulicks, tin, wad’ .
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 116: I’d picked up a little over two dollars in hard.

3. (Und.) hard labour in prison.

[UK]Reynolds’s Newspaper 2 May 6/6: [The] stockbroker has been sentenced to eightewen months ‘hard’ and will probably be broken himself on the wheel of the perpetual staircase.
[UK]G.R. Sims ‘Pickpocket Poems’ Dagonet Ditties 91: Of two bioncs I robbed the bard, / For which I got three months with hard.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 11 Feb. 1/2: In fact, a few months ‘hard’ would’nt go amiss with such an ass.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Belinda to the Bench’, Sporting Times 13 Oct. 1/4: I can read it in your chevy, I can read it like a clock, / That for me you’ve got a moon or two, perhaps a ‘tray’ in stock. / What, a brace with ‘hard’?
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Lord Douglas’ in Roderick (1972) 493: He got One-Eyed Bogan ‘three months’ hard’ for taking a bottle of whisky.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 350: Six years at ‘hard’.
[Aus]E. Dyson Spats’ Fact’ry (1922) 32: That tough with [...] a ’ead of hair like six months’ ’ard?
[NZ]Truth (Wellington) 21 Apr. 6/6: Don’t let me see you again or you’ll get a month’s hard.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 45: The sentences [...] varied from seven days to fifteen years ‘hard’.
[UK]‘Leslie Charteris’ Enter the Saint 29: Danny’s fees for a term of imprisonment were a flat rate of ten pounds a week, with an extra charge of two pounds a week for ‘hard.’.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 293: They give Y--- only six months hard.
[UK]J. Braine Room at the Top (1959) 189: Oh my [...] Almost worth ten years hard, isn’t she?

4. an erection [underpinned by hard-on n. (1)].

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]‘Bob Sterling’ Town-Bull 19: A pego, that the thought of a new slit to raid, had lifted into a giant hard.
[US] ‘The Love Guide’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 148: All I got to do is look at a picture of Tillie and I can get up a hard.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 206: One night, returning from a spree, / His customary hard had he, / And on the street he chanced to meet / This harlot of Jerusalem.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 134: This old way you got a tippin’ through these alleys and backyards, / and when you get home to your money-woman, boy, I bet you can’t raise a hard.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 38: Taking off some drunk chasing his hard around.
J. Atkins Sex In Lit. 4 188: This [i.e. putting on a condom] took so much time and looked so repulsive that he lost his hard.
[NZ]A. Duff One Night Out Stealing 152: A sheila came in [...] A real looker. Enough to give a horny dude like Jube a hard on the spot.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 13 June 7: I want more. I wanna yard of hard, and I want it now.

5. a thug, a hoodlum [hard case n. (2)].

[UK]Gosling in New Society 18 Apr. n.p.: The hard, the teddy-boy.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 34: Just you try and batter him and you’ll have about ten of his hards on you.

In phrases

give hard for soft (v.)

of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 16: Appointer. To copulate; ‘to give hard for soft’.