tough; stubborn.
conditioned by battle or struggle: a hard-bitten army.
grim or severe in judgment or attitude: a hard-bitten old teacher.

Origin of hard-bitten

First recorded in 1775–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hard-bitten

Contemporary Examples of hard-bitten

Historical Examples of hard-bitten

  • In height he was tall, and his figure was thin and loose-jointed, but stringy and hard-bitten.

    Sir Nigel

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The hard-bitten tailor was easy to quarrel with at any time.

  • Soldiers appeared, hard-bitten, tough, professional Greek soldiers.

    The Invaders

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

  • There is no gainsaying that the Solomons are a hard-bitten bunch of islands.

    South Sea Tales

    Jack London

  • He was a fighter, a dominant, hard-bitten woodsman, so the tale ran.

    Big Timber

    Bertrand W. Sinclair

British Dictionary definitions for hard-bitten



tough and realistic
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 hard-bitten

"tough, tough in a fight," literally "given to hard biting," 1715, originally of dogs, from hard + bitten, with the past participle used actively (cf. ill-spoken).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper