- hardheaded or tough; unsentimentally practical: a hard-nosed labor leader.
Origin of hard-nosed
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for hard-nosed
Normally an air accident investigation would involve a swarm of hard-nosed engineers and scientists poring over wreckage.The New Fear of Flying After MH370
March 31, 2014
Hard-nosed criticism is squeezed out by soft stories, gossip and fluff.Music Criticism Has Degenerated Into Lifestyle Reporting
March 18, 2014
“Politics is a hard-nosed game, and the right has been playing Marquess of Queensbury Rules for a long time on this,” he said.Al Sharpton, ‘PoliticsNation’ Advertisers Targeted in New Boycott
October 7, 2013
Documents released by the British archives reveal Thatcher as a hard-nosed opponent of Israel's West Bank settlement project.What Kind Of Friend To Israel Was Thatcher?
April 8, 2013
To me this would demonstrate a hard-nosed determination that all citizens should find frightening.Why I Fear the Aryan Brotherhood—and You Should, Too
April 1, 2013
- informal tough, shrewd, and practical
Word Origin and History for hard-nosed
"stubborn," 1927, from hard + nose (n.). Earlier of bullets or shells with hard tips, and of dogs that had difficulty following a scent. Not in common use before 1950s, when it begins to be used of tough or relentless characters generally (Damon Runyon characters, U.S. Marines, Princeton professors, etc.). Soft-nosed seems to have been used only of bullets.