- Cookery. (of an egg) boiled in the shell long enough for the yolk and white to solidify.
- Informal. tough; unsentimental: a hard-boiled vice-squad detective.
- marked by a direct, clear-headed approach; realistic: a hard-boiled appraisal of the foreign situation.
- (of detective fiction) written in a laconic, dispassionate, often ironic style for a realistic, unsentimental effect.
Origin of hard-boiled
- to boil (an egg) until the yolk and white have become firm or solid.
Origin of hard-boil
First recorded in 1890–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for hard-boiled
They are poached instead of hard-boiled, boasting anti-heroes with nihilistic worldviews who are nevertheless vulnerable.‘True Detective,’ Obsessive-Compulsive Noir, and ‘Twin Peaks’
March 14, 2014
On a lighter note, your character in the film has an interesting eating habit: he eats two hard-boiled eggs a day.Christopher Plummer on Muhammad Ali and Getting a Police Horse Drunk
October 5, 2013
Because it lacks the stylish voice of a hard-boiled detective noir, it sometimes feels coldly industrious.This Week’s Hot Reads: July 29, 2013
Jessica Ferri, Damaris Colhoun
July 29, 2013
Since this fall, though, as the governing got tough, the president has been avoiding fiction for some hard-boiled history.The Barack Obama Book Club
Samuel P. Jacobs
August 13, 2010
The course looked like a fine senior year coast through some hard-boiled paperbacks, certainly nothing life-changing.Hardass With a Heart of Gold
John Douglas Marshall
May 24, 2009
You may add to it some hard-boiled yolk of egg, mashed in the oil.Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches
Pour over the dressing, and garnish with hard-boiled eggs and beetroot.The Skilful Cook
"And you said they were so hard-boiled," Doris said accusingly to Sam, nodding at the twins.Masters of Space
Edward Elmer Smith
I could have had a hard-boiled egg, or a slice of ham; but I did not want a hard-boiled egg, or a slice of ham.Diary of a Pilgrimage
Jerome K. Jerome
No, I'll not be findin' hard-boiled eggs for you—oh, he's laughin' at me!
- (of an egg) boiled until the yolk and white are solid
- tough, realistic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for hard-boiled
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper