Entries linking to hardware
Old English heard "solid and firm, not soft," also, "difficult to endure, carried on with great exertion," also, of persons, "severe, rigorous, harsh, cruel," from Proto-Germanic *hardu- (source also of Old Saxon hard, Old Frisian herd, Dutch hard, Old Norse harðr "hard," Old High German harto "extremely, very," German hart, Gothic hardus "hard"), from PIE *kortu-, suffixed form of root *kar- "hard."
Meaning "difficult to do" is from c. 1200. Of water, in reference to the presence of mineral salts, 1650s; of consonants, 1775. Hard of hearing preserves obsolete Middle English sense of "having difficulty in doing something." In the sense "strong, spiritous, fermented" from 1789 (as in hard cider, etc.), and this use probably is the origin of that in hard drugs (1955). Hard facts is from 1853; hard news in journalism is from 1918. Hard copy (as opposed to computer record) is from 1964; hard disk is from 1978; the computer hard drive is from 1983. Hard times "period of poverty" is from 1705. Hard money (1706) is specie, silver or gold coin, as opposed to paper. Hence 19c. U.S. hard (n.) "one who advocates the use of metallic money as the national currency" (1844). To play hard to get is from 1945. Hard rock as a pop music style recorded from 1967. To do something the hard way is from 1907.
"manufactured goods, goods for sale," Old English waru "article of merchandise," also "protection, guard," hence probably originally "object of care, that which is kept in custody," from Proto-Germanic *waro (source also of Swedish vara, Danish vare, Old Frisian were, Middle Dutch were, Dutch waar, Middle High German, German ware "goods"), from PIE root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for."
Usually wares, except in compounds such as hardware, earthenware, etc. Lady ware was a jocular 17c. euphemism for "a woman's private parts" (but sometimes also "male sex organs"), and Middle English had ape-ware "deceptive or false ware; tricks" (mid-13c.).
updated on May 21, 2015