• synonyms


or hard·nosed

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adjective Informal.
  1. hardheaded or tough; unsentimentally practical: a hard-nosed labor leader.
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Origin of hard-nosed

First recorded in 1885–90


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realistic, down-to-earth; intractable, rigid, stubborn, inflexible.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for hard-nosed


  1. informal tough, shrewd, and practical
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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-nosed


"stubborn," 1927, from hard + nose (n.). Earlier of bullets or shells with hard tips, and of dogs that had difficulty following a scent. Not in common use before 1950s, when it begins to be used of tough or relentless characters generally (Damon Runyon characters, U.S. Marines, Princeton professors, etc.). Soft-nosed seems to have been used only of bullets.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper