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 Dictionary entry overview: What does hard knocks mean? 

  The noun HARD KNOCKS has 1 sense:

1. a state of misfortune or affliction

  Familiarity information: HARD KNOCKS used as a noun is very rare.

 Dictionary entry details 


Sense 1hard knocks [BACK TO TOP]


A state of misfortune or affliction

Classified under:

Nouns denoting stable states of affairs


adversity; hard knocks; hardship

Context examples:

debt-ridden farmers struggling with adversity / a life of hardship

Hypernyms ("hard knocks" is a kind of...):

bad luck; ill luck; misfortune; tough luck (an unfortunate state resulting from unfavorable outcomes)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "hard knocks"):

ill-being (lack of prosperity or happiness or health)

catastrophe; disaster (a state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune)

extremity (an extreme condition or state (especially of adversity or disease))

distress (a state of adversity (danger or affliction or need))

affliction (a state of great suffering and distress due to adversity)

victimization (adversity resulting from being made a victim)

low-water mark; nadir (an extreme state of adversity; the lowest point of anything)

 Learn English with... Proverbs of the week 
"Give and take is fair play." (English proverb)

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"The pen is mightier than the sword." (Dutch proverb)

 HARD KNOCKS: related words searches 

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