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Definition of "hard knocks" []

  • Informal The practical experiences of life, including hardships and disappointments: "He hadn't grown up in the school of hard knocks. Politically he had lived an easy life” ( Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.) (noun-plural)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "hard knocks" in a sentence
  • "– As we were riding yesterday along the banks of the Tchernaya, we could not but remark the vast herds of cattle grazing by the stream, and we compared them with our own starved, over-driven, cruelly used beasts, with broken tails, and bleeding from hard knocks and blows."
  • "At the tail of his detachment came the Count of Soissons and my Lord Peter of Noville, whom they use to call "Cater," who had suffered many hard knocks that day."
  • "But David Hawkins knows that the "Golden Rule" is not to be applied when dealing with Irish thugs; hard knocks are the only commodities"