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Hard knocks   /hɑrd nɑks/   Listen
Hard knocks

noun
1.
A state of misfortune or affliction.  Synonyms: adversity, hardship.  "A life of hardship"






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Hard knocks" Quotes from Famous Books



... said Ide. "Stay with me, Dawson—that's a good fellow. Walk around with me awhile. I never went to pieces like this before, and I've had a good many hard knocks. Do you think you could hustle something in the way of a little lunch, old man? I'm afraid my nerve's too far ...
— The Voice of the City • O. Henry

... privateer—like ourselves—heavily enough armed and manned to admit of their venturing, without much risk, over to our side of the Channel, on the look-out for homeward-bound British ships. To encounter such a customer as this would mean plenty of hard knocks, without very much profit, and with just the chance of losing one or the other of our prizes. We were, therefore, heartily thankful to find a clear horizon all round us when the fog cleared away. We were destined, however, to have ...
— The Log of a Privateersman • Harry Collingwood

... specialty, generating his purest fun and consecrating his versatile talents to highest ends. Wherever he catches meanness, avarice, selfishness, force, preying upon the humble and the weak, he is sure to give them hard knocks with his baton, or home-thrusts with his pen and pencil. His practical kindness is charmingly comprehensive, too. He speaks for the dumb beast, pleads for the maltreated brutes of Smithfield Market, craves compassion for skeleton omnibus-horses, with the same ready sympathy that he fights ...
— The Atlantic Monthly , Volume 2, No. 14, December 1858 • Various

... with fighting blood in his veins, and, like other eminent men who have risen to the White House, poor. His father, an Irish immigrant, died before his youngest son was born,—in 1767,—and life held for the boy more hard knocks than soft places. His mother, who was ambitious to make him a clergyman, tried to secure him some early advantages of schooling. Andrew, however, was not of a studious disposition, nor at all inclined to ...
— Eclectic School Readings: Stories from Life • Orison Swett Marden

... outstanding quality of the New York gangsman. His personal preference is for retreat when it is a question of unpleasantness with a stranger. And, in any case, even when warring among themselves, the gangs exhibit a lively distaste for the hard knocks of hand-to-hand fighting. Their chosen method of battling is to lie down on ...
— The Prince and Betty - (American edition) • P. G. Wodehouse

... men and women looking on at their death struggles, and said that not unfrequently British captives were brought hither and made to contend in the arena. The honest fellows were full of indignation and horror at the thought of men killing themselves to give sport to others. They were used to hard knocks, and thought but little of their life, and would have betaken themselves to their bows and bills without hesitation in case of a quarrel. But to fight in cold blood for amusement seemed to ...
— Winning His Spurs - A Tale of the Crusades • George Alfred Henty

... He grew so fast that his breeches never came down to the tops of his shoes, and, instead of stockings, you could always see "twelve inches of shinbones," sharp, blue, and narrow. He laughed much, was always ready to give and take jokes and hard knocks, had a squeaky, changing voice, a small head, big ears—and was always what Thackeray called "a gentle-man." Such ...
— Heroes Every Child Should Know • Hamilton Wright Mabie

... was a pity that the closing hours of Hogarth's life should have been occupied with so petty and so regrettable a squabble. Hogarth was entirely in the wrong. Hogarth began the quarrel; and if Hogarth was eager to give hard knocks he should have been ready to take hard knocks in return. But the world at large may very well be glad that Hogarth did lurk in the court by Justice Pratt and did make his memorable sketch of Wilkes. The sketch serves to show us if not ...
— A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, Volume III (of 4) • Justin McCarthy and Justin Huntly McCarthy

... been very often attacked," the merchant replied. "There is little to be got from them but hard knocks. The country is not fertile, the cold is too great, and they have only the necessities of life. Except for slaves, and for sacrifice to the gods, there is nothing to be gained by ...
— By Right of Conquest - Or, With Cortez in Mexico • G. A. Henty

... politics, and especially the higher politics. That means the juggling and wire-pulling of the Chancelleries, and the Front has an uneasy conviction that at the subtleties and craftiness and cunning of the diplomatic game we cannot compete with "The Bosche." Hard knocks and straight fighting the Front does understand, and at that game are cheerfully confident of winning in the ...
— Raemaekers' Cartoons - With Accompanying Notes by Well-known English Writers • Louis Raemaekers

... bad stretches of the road alternated, but now that Tom had seen of what mettle his car was made, he did not spare it as much as he had on the first trip. He saw that his machine would stand hard knocks, and the way the battery and motor was behaving was a joy to him. He knew that if he could make that eighty-mile run in safety he stood a good chance of winning the prize, for no harder test could ...
— Tom Swift and his Electric Runabout - or, The Speediest Car on the Road • Victor Appleton

... hero, tiring of his factory grind, starts out to win fame and fortune as a professional ball player. His hard knocks at the start are followed by such success as clean sportsmanship, courage and honesty ought ...
— Odd Numbers - Being Further Chronicles of Shorty McCabe • Sewell Ford

... were not above two or three miles from this, and surrounded by loose ice, there was no time to deliberate. We presently wore; got our tacks on board; hauled to the south, and soon got clear; but not before we had received several hard knocks from the loose pieces, which were of the largest sort, and among which we saw a seal. In the afternoon the wind increased in such a manner, as to oblige us to hand the top-sails, and strike top-gallant-yards. At eight o'clock we tacked and stood to ...
— A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World, Volume 1 • James Cook

... of terrible excitement, and each side gave the other many hard knocks. But in the end Harrison was elected by two hundred and thirty-four electoral votes to Van Buren's sixty. As Vice-President John Tyler was chosen. "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" had been one ...
— This Country Of Ours • H. E. Marshall Author: Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall

... of adversity," sang the great bard who is supposed to have known human nature in all its mutations; and humanity has echoed the aphorism until it has come to believe in some sort that bufferings are benedictions, and hard knocks merely the compacting blows that harden virtues, as the blacksmith's hammer beats a finer temper into ...
— Branded • Francis Lynde

... homes where she visited were growing more and more outspoken and rude and less and less considerate of her. She still deemed it her right to be honored guest wherever she chose to bestow the privilege of her company, although her self-esteem had had many a quiet dig and a few hard knocks in the recent months. ...
— The Comings of Cousin Ann • Emma Speed Sampson

... a bitter wind, and seemed to blow to the very heart of a man whose blood, heated but now with rapid riding, was the more sensitive to the chilling blast. Will was a daring fellow, and cared not a jot for hard knocks or sharp blades; but he could not persuade himself to move or walk about, having just that vague expectation of a sudden assault which made it a comfortable thing to have something at his back, even though that something were a gallows-tree. ...
— Master Humphrey's Clock • Charles Dickens

... William Howard Taft. Though he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, as we sometimes say, and fortune smiled upon him, he was never spoiled; but on the contrary he early developed a capacity for hard work, and a willingness to take rather than avoid hard knocks. These, as we shall see, insured his success in ...
— Modern Americans - A Biographical School Reader for the Upper Grades • Chester Sanford

... compelled to gulp twice before she could say even that much. "I don't shine nowhere—inside er out. I know that well enough. I never had no chancet to shine. It's always been wore off with hard knocks. But I like shiny folks all right—when they're fine clear ...
— Lonesome Land • B. M. Bower

... defiance of nautical etiquette—from interfering with his chief officer when the crew was sending up a new topmast, or generally when busy about, what he called, "a heavy job." He was meddlesome with perfect modesty; if he knew a thing or two there was no merit in it. "Hard knocks taught me wisdom, my boy," he used to say, "and you had better take the advice of a man who has been a fool in his time. Have another." And "my boy" as a rule took the cool drink, the advice, and the consequent help ...
— An Outcast of the Islands • Joseph Conrad

... man better than his neighbour; that is hugely to my liking. And from what I can learn there is no collecting of debts in this country, and no taxes; better still, no shivering in winter, no sickness, no hard knocks from one's betters. All is peace. The tables are turned: the laugh is with us poor men; it is the rich that make moan, and ...
— Works, V1 • Lucian of Samosata

... fencing wire, rather a hard-faced man; no feather-bed frontiersman this, but a tough, hard-grained bit of humanity, who has fought niggers and hunted for big game at an age when most young fellows are thinking more of poetry and pretty faces than of hard knocks and harder sport. I know him for a rattling good shot at either man or beast, a fine bushman, and a dandy horseman. He is a rather quiet fellow, as a rule, but all the quietness is out of him to-night, and he only ...
— Campaign Pictures of the War in South Africa (1899-1900) - Letters from the Front • A. G. Hales

... resolution in presence of danger; the chivalrous man puts himself in peril for others' protection. The daring step out to defy danger; the dauntless will not flinch before anything that may come to them; the doughty will give and take limitless hard knocks. The adventurous find something romantic in dangerous enterprises; the venturesome may be simply heedless, reckless, or ignorant. All great explorers have been adventurous; children, fools, and ...
— English Synonyms and Antonyms - With Notes on the Correct Use of Prepositions • James Champlin Fernald

... so far that they completely lost their equilibrium, and indubitably proved the possibility of their getting out, at least, by finding themselves on the floor in various ungraceful positions, and with several pretty hard knocks. ...
— Hollowmell - or, A Schoolgirl's Mission • E.R. Burden

... thousand francs in 1843. Penury, that divine stepmother, did for the two men all that their mothers had not been able to do for them; Poverty taught them thrift and worldly wisdom; Poverty gave them her grand rough education, the lessons which she drives with hard knocks into the heads of great men, who seldom know a happy childhood. Fritz and Wilhelm, being but ordinary men, learned as little as they possibly could in her school; they dodged the blows, shrank from her hard breast and bony arms, and never discovered the ...
— Cousin Pons • Honore de Balzac

... the bottom, ran a little stream; the ground, on either side, in our immediate front, was swampy, and thickly covered with low swamp growth. That soft ground saved us a good many hard knocks we had plenty as it was! Behind us, our cleared ground ran back, very gently sloping, almost level, some thirty or forty yards, and then, the hill fell sharply down, some twenty yards to the little brook, which ran along the hollow! This sharp bank, facing away from the enemy, and this stream, ...
— From the Rapidan to Richmond and the Spottsylvania Campaign - A Sketch in Personal Narration of the Scenes a Soldier Saw • William Meade Dame

... remarked. "She's not long since been in action, too, with the enemy. Look at her topsails and top-gallant sails; they are pretty well riddled. I can count wellnigh a score of shot-holes in them; and her side, too, shows the hard knocks she has been getting. Just run to the top of the beach, and see if any other ships are following. Maybe the fleet has had a brush with the enemy, and yonder frigate has been sent on ahead ...
— The Rival Crusoes • W.H.G. Kingston

... from any other monarch or ruler. But you will say how about our President in time of war? Great power can safely be given to a president. Our presidents have all risen from the ranks. Usually they have gone through the school of hard knocks. And there are ways of keeping them ...
— Face to Face with Kaiserism • James W. Gerard

... chums and traveled on with the show, leaving, probably, many rather envious hearts behind. For there is a glamour about a circus and the theatre that blinds the youthful to the hard knocks and trouble that invariably accompany those who ...
— Joe Strong on the Trapeze - or The Daring Feats of a Young Circus Performer • Vance Barnum

... noble dame of great beauty, residing with her uncle, Sir Nicholas Byron, at his mansion, two or three miles distant. Oliver was a hot-brained, amorous youth, fitted for all weathers, ready either for brotherhood or blows, and would have won his "ladye love" at the lance's point or by onslaught and hard knocks. ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2) • John Roby

... on a shutter-panel, two hard knocks with the crop and three with the naked fist. Then a lock clicked, heavy bars rumbled, and a chain rattled. Rangsley pushed me through the doorway. A side door opened, and I saw into a lighted room filled with wreaths of smoke. A paunchy man in a bob wig, with a blue coat and Windsor buttons, holding ...
— Romance • Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

... Foreign quarrels,—and generally itself standing the brunt, with the co-partners looking on till it is time to run (as at Roucoux again next season, and at Lauffeld next),—can win nothing but hard knocks and losses. And is defined by mankind,—in phraseology which we have heard again since then!—as having "the heart of a Lion and the head of an Ass." [Old ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XV. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... men, trained and educated as scientific foresters, and he brought them into the work. A year or two in the forests, mapping, scaling, estimating, and studying the western timber conditions, made them practical as well as scientific. The old sawmill men, themselves educated in the college of "Hard Knocks," first laughed at these college-bred foresters, but soon learned to respect and trust them. They began to adopt their plans and follow their suggestions, and to-day one of the most serious embarrassments the forester has to meet is the continual ...
— McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, July 1908. • Various

... attributing the attack to their nearest neighbours, they waited for no explanation, but fell upon each other. Richard Assheton and Roger Nowell endeavoured to interfere and separate the combatants, and in doing so received some hard knocks for their pains; but all their pacific efforts were fruitless, until the squire appeared, and telling them they were merely the sport of hobgoblins, they desisted, but still the blows fell heavily on them as before, proving ...
— The Lancashire Witches - A Romance of Pendle Forest • William Harrison Ainsworth

... he feels for "Mr. Lamotte's pride," he has given it some pretty hard knocks, but he looks quite innocent, and incapable of any sinister intent, and Mr. Lamotte, after gnawing his lip viciously for a moment and favoring his vis-a-vis with a sharp glance of suspicion, says, with ...
— The Diamond Coterie • Lawrence L. Lynch

... courage, "far exceeds in vigour and bravery the great Hercules they tell us of. He fell upon us with such fury that in one instant he had knocked Azolan and Basque down into the gutter. They fell under his blows like pasteboard puppets—yet they are both strong men, and used to hard knocks. Labriche was tripped up and cleverly thrown by another actor, and fell with such force that he was completely stunned; the back of his head has found out that the stones of Poitiers pavements are harder than it is, poor fellow! ...
— Captain Fracasse • Theophile Gautier

... time that "want of cavalry" must be written on poor Methuen's. So you must figure to yourself a small army, an army almost all infantry, and an army tied to the railway on this march; and if we bring off no brilliant strategy, but simply plod on and take hard knocks, well, what else, I ask, under ...
— With Rimington • L. March Phillipps

... little conversation with him for a few minutes. The policeman was very mild and amiable, and so was Miss A. Having had considerable experience with officers of justice(?), she has gotten a little used to them—in fact, rather indifferent. Hard knocks and rubs conduce to philosophy, and Miss Anthony has acquired a philosophy akin to that of Diogenes in his tub. She told the policeman she had no intention of paying this government for the poor privilege of coming here to demand ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... good, along at first, but just good enough; the boy who does not cry when he gets hurt, and goes into all the dangerous games there are going, and goes in to win; the boy who loves his girl with the same earnestness that he plays football, and who takes the hard knocks of work and play until he becomes hardened to anything that may come to him in after life; the boy who will investigate everything in the way of machinery, even if he gets his fingers pinched, and learns how to make the machine that pinched him; the boy who, by study, ...
— Peck's Uncle Ike and The Red Headed Boy - 1899 • George W. Peck

... to-do Quebecer, whose partner in business I subsequently was, lived at what I should call No. 1 Fabrique street (the house lately vacated by Behan Bros). I was born in a house in St. John street. I loved to roam—have travelled the world over and received some hard knocks in my day. As to that part of my career, which seems particularly to interest you—the war of 1812—I regret I cannot tell you as much as you wish to know. In 1812 I joined Capt. the Hon. Matthew Bell's Volunteer ...
— Picturesque Quebec • James MacPherson Le Moine

... Many, however, who have inherited a great name, wealth or power have failed to meet the expectation of their parents and friends. When, therefore, any one, reared in the home of poverty and educated in the school of "hard knocks," rises above the unfavorable limitations of his surroundings and achieves a noble career of eminent usefulness in church or state, he ...
— The Choctaw Freedmen - and The Story of Oak Hill Industrial Academy • Robert Elliott Flickinger

... 7th of February, 1812. His childhood was a very unhappy one. He describes himself in one of his essays as "a very queer, small boy," and his biographer tells us that he was very sickly as well as very small. He had little schooling, and numberless hard knocks, and rough and toilsome was the first quarter of his journey through life. Many of the passages in 'David Copperfield' are literally true pictures of his own early experiences, and much of that work may be accepted as autobiographical. He was fond of putting himself and ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11 • Various

... solace of the other fellow. Putting aside all odious comparisons and limiting myself to a view of the regular army man as I know him, I can simply say that in the eight months during which I underwent in his company hard knocks and privations without number I could not have found a more truly satisfactory comrade and friend. He doesn't, on the average, know much about books; nor did he ever hear of the Etruscan Inscriptions or the Pyramidal Policy of the Ancient Egyptians. He takes a grim delight in smashing the English ...
— From Yauco to Las Marias • Karl Stephen Herrman

... Girls aren't so easily ruined somehow. They don't get such hard knocks later on, so it ...
— Virginia • Ellen Glasgow

... town house of the Lords Clifford, ancestors of the Earls of Cumberland, given to them by Edward II., was first let to the students of law in the eighteenth year of King Edward III., at a time when might was too often right, and hard knocks decided legal questions oftener than deed or statute. Harrison the regicide was in youth clerk to an attorney in Clifford's Inn, but when the Civil War broke out he rode off and ...
— Old and New London - Volume I • Walter Thornbury

... Bible is: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." And keep on doing it—persist—persist—persist. Again the Bible: "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings." Do not fear hard knocks. They are no sign that you will not finally win the battle. Indeed, ability to endure in silence is one of the best evidences that you will ...
— The Young Man and the World • Albert J. Beveridge

... my hands full that winter. The profession I had entered by so thorny a path did not prove to be a bed of roses. But I was not looking for roses. I doubt if I would have known what to do with them had there been any. Hard work and hard knocks had been my portion heretofore, and I was fairly trained down to that. Besides, now that the question where the next meal was to come from did not loom up whichever way I looked, the thing for me was ...
— The Making of an American • Jacob A. Riis

... possibly we could, you make no scruple to break your promise. It is true that our easy temper has occasioned this, but that shall not excuse you, for your proceedings are very unhandsome. As she spoke these words, she gave three hard knocks with her foot, and, clapping her hands as often together, cried, Come quick! Upon this a door flew open, and seven strong sturdy black slaves, with scimitars in their hands, rushed in; every one seized a man, threw him on the ground, and dragged him into the middle of the ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 • Anonymous

... commanded Tad. "We've had all the fighting we want for one night. Get busy and help strike this camp. Guess none of this outfit could truthfully be called a tenderfoot. We've all had our share of hard knocks, and we'll have enough to look back to and think about when we get home and have time to go over our ...
— The Pony Rider Boys in New Mexico • Frank Gee Patchin

... some of our companies and not so good for others. We've had some pretty hard knocks, but we don't write practically nothing but first-class business, and of course we write pretty good-sized lines; and when some sprinkled risk or a brick apartment house or a wool storage warehouse makes a total loss, it hits us pretty hard. Still, if you ...
— White Ashes • Sidney R. Kennedy and Alden C. Noble



Words linked to "Hard knocks" :   ill-being, disaster, ill luck, low-water mark, tough luck, distress, catastrophe, misfortune, bad luck, hardship, affliction, nadir, victimization, extremity



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