a condition that is difficult to endure; suffering; deprivation; oppression: a life of hardship.
an instance or cause of this; something hard to bear, as a deprivation, lack of comfort, or constant toil or danger: They faced bravely the many hardships of frontier life.

Origin of hardship

Middle English word dating back to 1175–1225; see origin at hard, -ship

Synonyms for hardship

1. trouble, affliction, suffering, misfortune. Hardship, privation, austerity refer to a condition hard to endure. Hardship applies to a circumstance in which excessive and painful effort of some kind is required, as enduring acute discomfort from cold, or battling over rough terrain. Privation has particular reference to lack of food, clothing, and other necessities or comforts. Austerity not only includes the ideas of privation and hardship but also implies deliberate control of emotional reactions to these.

Antonyms for hardship

1. ease.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hardship

Contemporary Examples of hardship

Historical Examples of hardship

  • If you've only just got it, there'll be no hardship to you or to them if you give it up now!

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • If you can eat and sleep well, you can stand almost any hardship.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • She loves him, and through poverty and hardship will share his fate.

  • He said he'd escaped from prison and, after a lot of difficulty and hardship, got back to England.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Before these were completed she succumbed to the hardship of her life.

    A Zola Dictionary

    J. G. Patterson

British Dictionary definitions for hardship



conditions of life difficult to endure
something that causes suffering or privation
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 hardship

c.1200, "quality of being hard," from hard + -ship. Meaning "disadvantage, suffering, privation" is c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper