- providing or yielding meagerly in return for much effort; demanding or unrewarding: the hardscrabble existence of mountainside farmers.
Origin of hardscrabble
Examples from the Web for hardscrabble
Their harrowing escape to Erbil has ended in a precarious and hardscrabble existence.Church Bells Fall Silent in Mosul as Iraq’s Christians Flee
Andrew Doran, Drew Bowling
June 29, 2014
But this hardscrabble, prairie town, with its population of 5,000 people, cast its charm on Ballantine.Death in the Heartland: What Happened to Steven Haataja?
March 16, 2014
For many fans, her hardscrabble youth and rough-and-tumble style were viewed as endearing strengths.ESPN’s ‘The Price of Gold’ Revisits the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Scandal
January 15, 2014
At Big Valley, a co-ed pre-K-12 in hardscrabble Modesto, Calif., the trip to Washington D.C. has been an annual rite of passage.The Sequester Ruined Our Eighth-Grade Trip to Washington, D.C.
March 19, 2013
In his hardscrabble campaign, there might not even have been a podium ready to welcome him.What Newt Gingrich Can Do for Mitt Romney
August 9, 2012
I've come into possession of a house which might suit you—'Hardscrabble.'Reels and Spindles
“We need not be afraid of Hardscrabble winds any more, papa,” said David.The Inglises
Margaret Murray Robertson
The village of Podunk looks down on the neighboring town of Hardscrabble.The Galaxy
Mo Mercer was the oracle of the renowned village of Hardscrabble.
Hardscrabble, flushed and swollen with importance, stepped forward.The Girl Aviators' Sky Cruise
- (modifier) (of a place) difficult to make a living in; barren
- great effort made in the face of difficulties
Word Origin and History for hardscrabble
1804, U.S. colloquial, the name of an imaginary barren place "where a livelihood may be obtained only under great hardship and difficulty;" from hard + scrabble. First recorded in journals of Lewis and Clark. Perhaps the original notion is "vigorous effort made under great stress," though this sense is recorded slightly later (1812).