hard nut to crack
someone who is difficult to deal with or hard to beat
a formidable person - informal
RELATED IDIOMS :
be hard put to
find it very difficult to
2001 - Marc Blake - 24 Karat Schmooze - He wore an Armani suit with a navy shirt, a club tie (although the vintners would have been hard put to name the actual club) and a Freemasonry pin.
hard as nails
(of people) insensitive or callous - without pity
hard as the nether millstone
callous and unyielding
The nether millstone is the lower of the two millstones by which corn is ground. The phrase alludes to Job 41 : 24 : His heart is as firm as a stone, and as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.
hard at it
busily working – informal
1997 - Independent - I leave home just after 6am each day and I'm hard at it by 7.30.
a hard case
a tough or intractable person
an amusing or eccentric person – Australian & New Zealand
a hard nut to crack
a person or thing that is difficult to understand or influence – informal
a hard row to hoe
a difficult task
Hoeing a row of plants is used here as a metaphor for very arduous work
the hard way
through suffering or learning from the unpleasant consequences of mistakes
1996 - Nozipo Maraire - Zenzele - I think she understands better than the rest of us that we are at heart one family, for she has had to learn the hard way.
play hard to get
deliberately adopt an aloof or uninterested attitude, typically in order to make yourself more attractive or interesting – informal
put the hard word on
ask a favour of someone, especially a sexual or financial favour - Australian & New Zealand informal
1997 - Derek Hansen - Sole Survivor - But if he'd come to put the hard word on her, why hadn't he picked a more appropriate time?
Midmorning had never struck her as particularly conducive to romance.
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