adjective, hard·er, hard·est.
- containing more than 22.5 percent alcohol by volume, as whiskey and brandy as opposed to beer and wine.
- strong because of fermentation; intoxicating: hard cider.
- having a firm, crisp crust or texture: hard rolls.
- stale or tough.
adverb, hard·er, hard·est.
- a firm or solid beach or foreshore.
- a firm landing, jetty, or road across or adjoining the foreshore.
- urgently in need of money.
- feeling a lack or need: The country is hard up for technicians and doctors.
Origin of hard
British Dictionary definitions for hard up
- (of cash, money, etc) in coin and paper rather than cheques
- (of currency) in strong demand, esp as a result of a good balance of payments situation
- (of credit) difficult to obtain; tight
- an older word for fortis
- (not in modern technical usage) denoting the consonants c and g in English when they are pronounced as velar stops (k, g)
- (of consonants in the Slavonic languages) not palatalized
- being heavily fortified and protected
- (of nuclear missiles) located underground in massively reinforced silos
- a person not easily persuaded or won over
- a thing not easily understood
- in need of money; poor
- (foll by for) in great need (of)hard up for suggestions
- with effort or difficultytheir victory was hard won
- (in combination)hard-earned
Word Origin for hard
Word Origin and History for hard up
Old English heard "solid, firm, not soft," also "severe, rigorous, cruel," from Proto-Germanic *hardu- (cf. Old Saxon and Dutch hard, Old Norse harðr "hard," Old High German harto "extremely, very," German hart, Gothic hardus "hard"), from PIE *kortu-, (cf. Greek kratos "strength," kratys "strong"), from root *kar-/*ker- "hard." Meaning "difficult to do" is from c.1200. The adverb sense was also present in Old English.
Hard of hearing preserves obsolete Middle English sense of "having difficulty in doing something." Hard liquor is 1879, American English (hard drink is from 1810; hard cider is from 1789), and this probably led to hard drugs (1955). Hard facts is from 1887; hard news is from 1938. Hard copy (as opposed to computer record) is from 1964; hard disk is from 1978. Hard up (1610s) is originally nautical, of steering (slang sense of "short of money" is from 1821), as is hard and fast (1680s), of a ship on shore. Hard times "period of poverty" is from 1705.
Hard money (1706) is specie, as opposed to paper. Hence 19c. U.S. hard (n.) "one who advocates the use of metallic money as the national currency" (1844). To play hard to get is from 1945. Hard rock as a pop music style recorded from 1967.
Idioms and Phrases with hard up (1 of 2)
In need, poor, as in Unemployment is rising and many families are hard up, or With widespread emigration, Russia is finding itself hard up for scientists and other professional people. [Colloquial; early 1800s]
Idioms and Phrases with hard up (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with hard
- hard act to follow
- hard and fast
- hard as nails
- hard bargain
- hard cash
- harden one's heart
- hard feelings
- hard hat
- hard hit, be
- hard line
- hard liquor
- hard luck
- hardly ever
- hard nut to crack
- hard of hearing
- hard on
- hard on someone's heels
- hard pressed
- hard put, be
- hard row to hoe
- hard sell
- hard time
- hard up
- hard way, the
- between a rock and a hard place
- cold (hard) cash
- come down (hard) on
- die hard
- drive a (hard) bargain
- go hard with
- no hard feelings
- play hardball
- play hard to get
- school of hard knocks
- tough (hard) row to hoe