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hard luck

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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Examples from the Web for hard-luck

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It was a hard-luck symposium, of course; but there was more to it than just a panhandle touch.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

  • I found somebody who listened sympathetically to my hard-luck story.

    Paris Vistas

    Helen Davenport Gibbons

  • I often think of it when some man comes to me with a hard-luck story.

    Saturday's Child

    Kathleen Norris

  • He'd been known as a hard-luck man as far back as he could remember.

    The Wealth of Echindul

    Noel Miller Loomis

  • I attribute the fact that Yale only had five points to two hard-luck facts.

    Football Days

    William H. Edwards