[ hahrd-tak ]
See synonyms for hardtack on Thesaurus.com
  1. a hard, saltless biscuit, formerly much used aboard ships and for army rations.

Origin of hardtack

First recorded in 1830–40; hard + tack2

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hardtack in a sentence

  • I had always made it a rule to keep a supply of sugar and some hard tack in my haversack, ready for an emergency.

  • Yes, I'm sure that it's one o' them wagons we was guardin', and I recollect it was loaded with hard tack.

  • Having a romantic temperament and a taste for heroics, I had wished to fight and eat hard tack for my country.

    Duffels | Edward Eggleston
  • This time there were no hot beefsteaks, no fresh rolls, no fried potatoes, no coffee—nothing but cold corned beef and hard tack.

    Down the Rhine | Oliver Optic
  • There was the breakfast—salt junk and hard tack—regular sailor's fare.

    Down the Rhine | Oliver Optic

British Dictionary definitions for hardtack (1 of 2)


/ (ˈhɑːdˌtæk) /

  1. a kind of hard saltless biscuit, formerly eaten esp by sailors as a staple aboard ship: Also called: pilot biscuit, ship's biscuit, sea biscuit

British Dictionary definitions for hard tack (2 of 2)

hard tack

  1. Irish informal whisky

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