or hard·pressed

[ hahrd-prest ]
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  1. heavily burdened or oppressed, as by overwork or financial difficulties; harried; put-upon.

Origin of hard-pressed

First recorded in 1815–25

Other words for hard-pressed

assailed, plagued, beset, bedeviled, beleaguered
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Words Nearby hard-pressed

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use hard-pressed in a sentence

  • The Spaniards, hard pressed on all sides, seemed determined to make their last stand in the old citadel.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • But his lips were hard pressed and his eyes became suddenly contemptuous, then smiling.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • Herron's men were hard pressed, but grimly they held to their position, awaiting the arrival of Blunt.

  • But the war had reached a critical stage; the Confederate army was hard pressed on every side.

  • hard-pressed brick of a light colour makes an excellent outer wall-surface.

British Dictionary definitions for hard-pressed


  1. in difficulties: the swimmer was hard-pressed

  2. subject to severe competition

  1. subject to severe attack

  2. closely pursued

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with hard-pressed


Overburdened, put upon, as in With all these bills to pay we find ourselves hard pressed. [c. 1800]

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