- a period of difficulties or hardship.
- Slang. time actually served in a prison or other penal institution: He had merely been fined before, but now was sentenced to 90 days' hard time in the county jail.
- give a hard time, Informal. to bother, annoy, or harass: He gave me a hard time about the money I owe him.
Origin of hard time
Related Words for hard timesrejection, snub, rebuke, reprimand, condemnation, admonition, censure, disapproval, reproach, punishment, rebuff, decline, stagnation, collapse, slump, slide, inflation, downturn, bankruptcy, shakeout
Also, hard times. A period of difficulty or hardship, especially financial hardship. For example, Since Mom died, Christmas has been a hard time for Dad, or It's been hard times for both of them since they split up. It is also put as have a hard time, as in I'm having a hard time finishing this book. Charles Dickens used Hard Times as the title of a novel about poverty (1854). A more recent version is have a time of it, which despite its ambiguity (not specifying either “good” or “bad”) nearly always means “experiencing difficulty”; for example, We had quite a time of it in that hurricane. [Late 1300s]
give someone a hard time. Annoy or harass someone. For example, Don't let him give you a hard time; he's often late himself. [Colloquial; early 1900s]