Misfortune, adversity, as in He's had a lot of hard luck in his day. This expression is also used in the phrase hard-luck story, a tale of one's misfortune that is related in order to get sympathy (or a donation). For example, We can't ignore her hard-luck story, even if you doubt that it's true. [Second half of 1500s] Also see tough break.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
How to use hard luck in a sentence
I probably need to be clear straight off that I am not presenting myself as any kind of hard-luck case.The Obamacare Ripoff: More Money for Less Insurance | David Frum | October 29, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
This is a woman who came out of the kind of hard-luck story that she handles so well, and built an enormous media empire.
“With a hard luck story and a little charm, we obtained cellphones that are not registered to anyone,” it reads.A Peek at Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton’s Escort Service | Eliza Shapiro | December 22, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
After a hard-luck few years, the pro-wrestling pioneer is re-entering the ring with a big adult-film release.
Tell him of fights, of men that wouldn't give up, but fought their way out of hard luck.A Yankee from the West | Opie Read
But he had hard luck, too, for another carbuncle developed at Melbourne and kept him laid up for nearly a week.Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete | Albert Bigelow Paine
While gloomily grieving over his hard luck, the faint odor of rice-wine seemed borne on the breeze.Japanese Fairy World | William Elliot Griffis
Besides, the Briton came out of the affair with such hard luck, that there is much sympathy for him.Miss Caprice | St. George Rathborne
But it can't be helped—there was nothing to be picked up abroad, after that double stroke of hard luck.In Friendship's Guise | Wm. Murray Graydon