Idioms

    hack it, Slang. to handle or cope with a situation or an assignment adequately and calmly: The new recruit just can't hack it.

Origin of hack

1
1150–1200; Middle English hacken; compare Old English tōhaccian to hack to pieces; cognate with Dutch hakken, German hacken

Synonym study

1. mangle, haggle.

Synonym study

1. See cut.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hack around

hack

1

verb

(when intr, usually foll by at or away) to cut or chop (at) irregularly, roughly, or violently
to cut and clear (a way, path, etc), as through undergrowth
(in sport, esp rugby) to foul (an opposing player) by kicking or striking his shins
basketball to commit the foul of striking (an opposing player) on the arm
(intr) to cough in short dry spasmodic bursts
(tr) to reduce or cut (a story, article, etc) in a damaging way
to manipulate a computer program skilfully, esp, to gain unauthorized access to another computer system
(tr) slang to tolerate; cope withI joined the army but I couldn't hack it
hack to bits to damage severelyhis reputation was hacked to bits

noun

a cut, chop, notch, or gash, esp as made by a knife or axe
any tool used for shallow digging, such as a mattock or pick
a chopping blow
a dry spasmodic cough
a kick on the shins, as in rugby
a wound from a sharp kick
See also hack off

Word Origin for hack

Old English haccian; related to Old Frisian hackia, Middle High German hacken

hack

2

noun

a horse kept for riding or (more rarely) for driving
an old, ill-bred, or overworked horse
a horse kept for hire
British a country ride on horseback
a drudge
a person who produces mediocre literary or journalistic work
Also called: hackney US a coach or carriage that is for hire
Also called: hackie US informal
  1. a cab driver
  2. a taxi

verb

British to ride (a horse) cross-country for pleasure
(tr) to let (a horse) out for hire
(tr) informal to write (an article) as or in the manner of a hack
(intr) US informal to drive a taxi

adjective

(prenominal) banal, mediocre, or unoriginalhack writing

Word Origin for hack

C17: short for hackney

hack

3

noun

a rack used for fodder for livestock
a board on which meat is placed for a hawk
a pile or row of unfired bricks stacked to dry

verb (tr)

to place (fodder) in a hack
to place (bricks) in a hack

Word Origin for hack

C16: variant of hatch ²
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 hack around

hack

v.1

"to cut roughly, cut with chopping blows," c.1200, from verb found in stem of Old English tohaccian "hack to pieces," from West Germanic *hakkon (cf. Old Frisian hackia "to chop or hack," Dutch hakken, Old High German hacchon, German hacken), from PIE *keg- "hook, tooth." Perhaps influenced by Old Norse höggva "to hack, hew" (cf. hacksaw). Slang sense of "cope with" (such as in can't hack it) is first recorded in American English 1955, with a sense of "get through by some effort," as a jungle (cf. phrase hack after "keep working away at" attested from late 14c.). Related: Hacked; hacking.

hack

n.2

"person hired to do routine work," c.1700, ultimately short for hackney "an ordinary horse" (c.1300), probably from place name Hackney, Middlesex (q.v.). Apparently nags were raised on the pastureland there in early medieval times. Extended sense of "horse for hire" (late 14c.) led naturally to "broken-down nag," and also "prostitute" (1570s) and "drudge" (1540s). Sense of "carriage for hire" (1704) led to modern slang for "taxicab." As an adjective, 1734, from the noun. Hack writer is first recorded 1826, though hackney writer is at least 50 years earlier. Hack-work is recorded from 1851.

hack

n.1

"tool for chopping," early 14c., from hack (v.1); cf. Danish hakke "mattock," German Hacke "pickax, hatchet, hoe." Meaning "an act of cutting" is from 1836; figurative sense of "a try, an attempt" is first attested 1898.

hack

v.2

"illegally enter a computer system," by 1984; apparently a back-formation from hacker. Related: Hacked; hacking. Earlier verb senses were "to make commonplace" (1745), "make common by everyday use" (1590s), "use (a horse) for ordinary riding" (1560s), all from hack (n.2).

hack

v.3

"to cough with a short, dry cough," 1802, perhaps from hack (v.1) on the notion of being done with difficulty, or else imitative.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper