1 rigid, stiff, solid, inflexible, firm, dense, condensed, compressed, close, solidified, hardened; stony, rocklike, concrete, petrified, granite(-like), flinty, steely; tough, rugged, leathery, callous; unyielding, adamant(ine), impenetrable, obdurate, impervious, impregnable:
The cement gets hard in an hour. This steak is as hard as shoe-leather. The metal was so hard that I broke three drills trying to make a hole in it
2 difficult, laborious, arduous, back-breaking, burdensome, onerous, fatiguing, tiring, exhausting, wearying, strenuous, tough, toilsome:
Laying track for the railway is a very hard job.
3 difficult, perplexing, knotty, puzzling, baffling, enigmatic, intricate, complicated, complex, tangled, involved, thorny, incomprehensible, inscrutable, unsolvable, insoluble, Colloq tough:
There were a lot of hard questions in the exam.
4 stern, cold, callous, intractable, exacting, strict, demanding, hard-hearted, stony-hearted, severe, tyrannical, despotic, dictatorial, magisterial, oppressive, cruel, ruthless, pitiless, merciless, savage, brutal, brutish, inhuman, heartless, harsh, unkind, implacable, unsympathetic, dispassionate, uncompassionate, unfeeling, obdurate, indurate; unsentimental, insensitive, thick-skinned, tough, hard-boiled, stony, hardbitten, unfeeling, unsparing:
Hemel is a hard taskmaster. Of the prison warders, each was harder than the next. He advocates taking a hard line against white-collar crime
5 bad, difficult, grievous, calamitous, racking, disastrous, dark, grim, distressing, devastating, agonizing, painful, unpleasant, severe, austere, Colloq tough, rough:
The years of the Great Depression were hard for everyone.
6 cool, unemotional, calculating, uncompromising, methodical, critical, systematic, practical, pragmatic, businesslike, realistic, penetrating, searching, hard-headed, Colloq tough, hard-nosed:
Shareholders should take a hard look at the annual report. Chapelle drives a hard bargain
7 sedulous, assiduous, devoted, conscientious, industrious, indefatigable, untiring, persistent, dogged, intent, eager, zealous, ardent, energetic, keen, avid:
Galpin is a very hard worker who gets a lot done.
8 cold, bare, plain, straight, straightforward, blunt, unvarnished, unquestionable, verifiable, real, indisputable, undeniable, incontestable, incontrovertible, strict, inescapable, ineluctable, unavoidable, unalterable, immutable:
The hard fact is that the bill has never been paid.
9 angry, bitter, acrimonious, hostile, antagonistic, harsh, unpleasant, unfriendly:
I'm afraid there were some hard words between us.
10 spirituous, alcoholic, strong:
She won't touch hard liquor.
11 addictive, habit-forming:
He later changed from marijuana to hard drugs.
12 sharp, well-defined, clear, distinct, stark, definite:
Note the hard edges of objects in Realist paintings.
13 vigorously, forcefully, forcibly, energetically, mightily, arduously, laboriously, strenuously, earnestly, actively, dynamically, eagerly, intensely, ardently, heartily, zealously, intently, spiritedly, diligently, assiduously, sedulously, studiously, determinedly, steadfastly, conscientiously, industriously, devotedly, urgently, persistently, untiringly, indefatigably, perseveringly, unfalteringly, relentlessly, doggedly:
They always had to work very hard just to scrape by. He's hard at work writing his new book
14 violently, deeply, intensely, badly, distressingly, painfully, severely, agonizingly:
Failing the examination hit him quite hard.
15 intently, carefully, earnestly:
The judge thought long and hard before passing sentence.
16 harshly, severely, badly, ill:
It's going to go hard with her if she doesn't change her ways.
17 hard up. poor, indigent, poverty-stricken, impoverished, penniless, impecunious, bankrupt, Colloq in the red, broke, bust(ed), on one's uppers, Slang Brit skint:
He's so hard up he can't afford a decent meal.