Slang dictionary

hardcore

or hard-core [ hahrd-kohr ]

What does hardcore mean?

Hardcore means "extreme" or "intense," like a hardcore gym routine, or a fan of Justin Bieber. It is especially used to reference hardcore punk music or pornography.

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Related words

fugazi, DVDA, hard in the paint, ham, crazy shit, oogle, Sex Pistols

Where does hardcore come from?

In the early 1910s, hard core described the central element of something, like its unmovable (hard) foundation (core). By the 1920s, this extended to an unwavering devotion to a group or cause.

Hardcore pornography (which shows sex explicit acts) emerges from a 1957 obscenity trial and was used to describe sexual materials without artistic merit. Softcore pornography emerges in the 1960s for pornography that is erotic but not explicit. 

Hardcore music begins as a fast, loud, abrasive, and politicized genre of punk music in the 1970s–80s. Notable acts included Bad Brains, Black Flag, and Minor Threat. The name is often credited to Canadian rockers D.O.A’s 1981 album Hardcore ’81.

Hardcore punk lent its -core as a combining form for other aggressive or experimental genres, like metalcore and nerdcore, then just to other trends in general such as normcore or sleazecore fashion.

Examples of hardcore

Butt-kicking, Hardcore Females in YA Literature
Capital Area District Libraries (headline), July 2018
So apparently the baby next to me on my flight was audition to be the screamer of a hardcore band. Hope she gets the part!
@RemingtonLeith, October 2018
Memedroid
In the US, lying in wait with a plan to kill someone is 1st degree murder. I don’t know about Saudi, but Trump’s failure to condemn a gruesome murder & leadership that planned it, because his journalism offended a country’s leader, should give even Trump’s hardcore base pause.
@JoyceWhiteVance, October 2018
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Who uses hardcore?

People commonly use hardcore to describe their passionate commitment to such things as a sport/sports team, hobby, fandom, person, cause, or group. 

Hardcore can also characterize someone as “tough” and “edgy,” often used ironically.

Hardcore remains used in pornography, especially online. It’s also used in the punk scene. As noted, other punk-inflected music genres feature the -core from hardcore, e.g., cuddlecore or horrorcore. Increasingly, fashion trends, as we saw with normcore, are using this -core as well.

 

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FYP, infodemic, contact tracing, murder hornet, slap

Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of hardcore like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of hardcore that will help our users expand their word mastery.