Etymology
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hard-cover (adj.)

of books, 1949, from hard (adj.) + cover (n.).

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die-hard (n.)

also diehard, 1844, in reference to the 57th Regiment of Foot in the British Army, from the verbal phrase die hard "suffer, struggle, or resist in dying," 1784; see die (v.) + hard (adv.). As an adjective, attested from 1871. The  brand of automobile battery, spelled DieHard, was introduced by Sears in 1967.

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hard-boiled (adj.)

also hardboiled, 1723 in reference to eggs, "cooked so long as to be solid," from hard (adj.) + past tense of boil. In transferred sense "severe, tough," from 1886.

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hard-ass (adj.)

"tough, uncompromising," 1961, from hard (adj.) + ass (n.2). Probably originally military. As a noun, "tough, uncompromising person," from 1967. Old Hard Ass is said to have been a nickname of Gen. George A. Custer (1839-1876) among his cavalry troops because of his seeming tirelessness in the saddle.

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hard-hearted (adj.)

also hardhearted, "obdurate, unfeeling," c. 1200, heard-iheorted," from hard (adj.) + -hearted. Sometimes in Middle English also meaning "bold, courageous" (c. 1400). Related: Hard-heartedly; hard-heartedness. In late Old English and early Middle English, hard-heort meant both "hard-hearted" (adj.) and "hard-hearted person" (n.).

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hard-shell (adj.)

1838 of Baptists (figuratively); 1798 of clams; see hard (adj.) + shell (n.). Hard-shelled is from 1610s.

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hard hat (n.)

also hardhat, hard-hat, late 14c., "helmet," from hard (adj.) + hat (n.). From 1935 as "derby hat;" meaning "safety helmet" is from 1953; used figuratively for "construction worker" from 1970.

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hard-on (n.)

"penile erection," 1922, earlier as an adjective (1893), from hard + on.

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hard-nosed (adj.)

"stubborn," 1927, from hard (adj.) + nose (n.). Earlier of bullets or shells with hard tips, and of dogs that had difficulty following a scent. Not in common use before 1950s, when it begins to be applied to tough or relentless characters generally (Damon Runyon characters, U.S. Marines, Princeton professors, etc.). Soft-nosed seems to have been used only of bullets.

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hard-up (adj.)

"in difficulties," especially "short of money," 1821, slang; it was earlier a nautical expression, in reference to steering.

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