Etymology
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hardness (n.)

Old English heardnes; see hard (adj.) + -ness. Meaning "difficulty of action or accomplishment" is late 14c.

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Definitions of hardness

hardness (n.)
the property of being rigid and resistant to pressure; not easily scratched; measured on Mohs scale;
hardness (n.)
a quality of water that contains dissolved mineral salts that prevent soap from lathering;
the costs of reducing hardness depend on the relative amounts of calcium and magnesium compounds that are present
hardness (n.)
devoid of passion or feeling; hardheartedness;
Synonyms: unfeelingness / callousness / callosity / insensibility
hardness (n.)
the quality of being difficult to do;
he assigned a series of problems of increasing hardness
Synonyms: ruggedness
hardness (n.)
excessive sternness;
Synonyms: severity / severeness / harshness / rigor / rigour / rigorousness / rigourousness / inclemency / stiffness
From wordnet.princeton.edu