[ hahrd-pan ]

  1. any layer of firm detrital matter, as of clay, underlying soft soil.: Compare caliche, duricrust.

  2. hard, unbroken ground.

  1. the fundamental or basic aspect of anything; solid foundation; underlying reality: the hardpan of mathematical theory.

Origin of hardpan

An Americanism dating back to 1810–20; hard + pan1

Words Nearby hardpan

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hardpan in a sentence

  • The cost of specially made grubs for digging in hardpan is about $26 per dozen.

    Concrete Construction | Halbert P. Gillette
  • Old Scarface whitewashes fences for a nickel an hour and they live in a dirty hole of a cabin down in hardpan.

    The Trail Boys on the Plains | Jay Winthrop Allen

British Dictionary definitions for hardpan


/ (ˈhɑːdˌpæn) /

  1. a hard impervious layer of clay below the soil, resistant to drainage and root growth

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

Scientific definitions for hardpan


[ härdpăn′ ]

  1. A hard, usually clay-rich layer of soil lying at or just below the ground surface, in which soil particles are cemented together by silica, iron oxide, calcium carbonate, or organic matter that has precipitated from water percolating through the soil. Hardpans do not soften when exposed to water. Also called caliche

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.