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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



... "I have sighed to every eyebrow at court, and I tell you this moonshine is—moonshine pure and simple. Matthiette, I love you too dearly to deceive you in, at all events, this matter, and I have learned by hard knocks that we of gentle quality may not lightly follow our own inclinations. Happiness is a luxury which the great can very rarely afford. Granted that you have an aversion to this marriage. Yet consider ...
— The Line of Love - Dizain des Mariages • James Branch Cabell

... no mention is made of their Mahratta allies. They were left out of account altogether, and the reason is not far to seek. Experience had shown that, in the coming military operations, the Mahrattas would count for nothing. All the hard knocks would fall on the English, and it was but fair that they should have the prize-money; the Mahrattas would gain a substantial benefit in the possession of Gheriah, which was to be made over ...
— The Pirates of Malabar, and An Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago • John Biddulph

... Soult, Lobau, and Bertrand; but, for all their talents, I had rather, when it came to hard knocks, have a single quartermaster-sergeant of Hussars at my side than the three of them put together. There remained the Emperor himself, the coachman, and a valet of the household who had joined us at Charleroi—eight all ...
— The Adventures of Gerard • Arthur Conan Doyle

... hour after noon, a horseman might have been seen approaching the village of Great Barrington, on the road from Sheffield. He wore the buff and blue uniform of a captain in the late Continental army, and strapped to the saddle was a steel hilted sword which had apparently experienced a good many hard knocks. The lack of any other baggage to speak of, as well as the frayed and stained condition of his uniform, indicated that however rich the rider might be in glory, he was tolerably destitute of more ...
— The Duke of Stockbridge • Edward Bellamy

... captains refused to go to France, that a special edict was issued obliging them to do so.[1941] But they doubtless discovered reasons enough for not going into a country where henceforth they could hope only for hard knocks and nothing tempting; so that many declined, terrified by the ...
— The Life of Joan of Arc, Vol. 1 and 2 (of 2) • Anatole France

... the ordinary Brown Shark, or sea attorney, so called by sailors; a grasping, rapacious varlet, that in spite of the hard knocks received from it, often snapped viciously at our steering oar. At times, these gentry swim in herds; especially about the remains of a slaughtered whale. They are ...
— Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. I (of 2) • Herman Melville

... was made very happy over his most unexpected promotion would be putting it mildly. He hates to leave the old regiment, but he has done hard fighting, borne several hard knocks, is still weak and shaky from recent wounds; and to be summoned to Washington, there to meet his proud father, and to receive his appointment as assistant adjutant-general from the hands of the most distinguished representative "in Congress assembled" of his distinguished state, is something ...
— A War-Time Wooing - A Story • Charles King

... down—for rowing is faster wark than rinning—ere they could get at their arms; and then it was flash, flash, flash—rap, rap, rap—from the edge of the road; but my head was too jumbled to think anything either of that or the hard knocks I got among the stones. I kept my senses thegither, whilk has been thought wonderful by all that ever saw the place; and I helped myself with my hands as gallantly as I could, and to the bottom I ...
— Redgauntlet • Sir Walter Scott

... the soldiers who are sent for the protection of the border. The objects of his supreme hatred still often merit his good opinion for their bravery and fighting qualities, but upon raw Eastern recruits and West-Point fledglings he looks with mild disdain. Having learned the Indian methods by many hard knocks, he doubtless fails to exercise proper charity toward those whose experiences have been less extended; and added to this may be a lurking jealousy—which, however, would be stoutly disclaimed—because ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. XXVI., December, 1880. • Various

... against farmers and in the service of the police;—and when the internal contradictions of his own system shall drive the chief of the "Society of December 10" across the French frontier, that Army will, after a few bandit-raids, gather no laurels but only hard knocks. ...
— The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte • Karl Marx

... doubtful of that. If Miller goes to Lima, it's a proof there are hard knocks about. And high time too! According to the talk, the war should have ...
— At the Point of the Sword • Herbert Hayens

... quick response, as the maid drew herself up into the austere lines she affected. "You must remember hearts don't amount to much till they've been hammered out by hard knocks. You'll do your best, I presume, but what can a young thing like you understand? However, they's ...
— Joyce's Investments - A Story for Girls • Fannie E. Newberry

... said the Captain—"very indifferent well. I cannot say that the Emperor paid much better than the great Gustavus. For hard knocks, we had plenty of them. I was often obliged to run my head against my old acquaintances, the Swedish feathers, whilk your honour must conceive to be double-pointed stakes, shod with iron at each end, and planted before the squad of pikes to prevent an onfall of the cavalry. ...
— A Legend of Montrose • Sir Walter Scott

... me more like," replied Big Jerry with the grim humour of the whole-hearted man, who gives hard knocks and takes them all in ...
— The Gentleman - A Romance of the Sea • Alfred Ollivant

... 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 ...
— Modern Americans - A Biographical School Reader for the Upper Grades • Chester Sanford

... shoes. 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

... districts of Wohlau and Guhrau the image of Death used to be thrown over the boundary of the next village. But as the neighbours feared to receive the ill-omened figure, they were on the look-out to repel it, and hard knocks were often exchanged between the two parties. In some Polish parts of Upper Silesia the effigy, representing an old woman, goes by the name of Marzana, the goddess of death. It is made in the house where the last death occurred, and is carried on a pole to the boundary of the village, where ...
— The Golden Bough - A study of magic and religion • Sir James George Frazer

... to me much like another, though my father holds that there are rare differences between them; but it is a nobler craft to work on iron, and next to using arms the most pleasant thing surely is to make them. One can fancy what good blows the sword will give and what hard knocks the armour will turn aside; but some day, Master Geoffrey, when I have served my time, I mean to follow the army. There is always work there for armourers to do, and sometimes at a pinch they may even ...
— Saint George for England • G. A. Henty

... table, and everyone was much interested in the matter. Amy was asked, but Jo was not, which was fortunate for all parties, as her elbows were decidedly akimbo at this period of her life, and it took a good many hard knocks to teach her how to get on easily. The 'haughty, uninteresting creature' was let severely alone, but Amy's talent and taste were duly complimented by the offer of the art table, and she exerted herself to prepare and secure appropriate and valuable ...
— Little Women • Louisa May Alcott

... expected him to make up his mind and there an end, and not fret himself into a pother and Mr. JOHN FOSTER'S story into a most inartistic anti-climax over such a subtlety. All the same a rattling good tale, full of hard knocks as well as bright eyes, and with more than a ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 152. January 17, 1917 • Various

... could reply he went on: "You got some hard knocks when you were a boy, Steve, and they did you good. That is when we need them most. These are the first real blows I have ever had. I've always been in for a good time and had it, but I don't believe it pays. Father is going to be no end put out with me ...
— The Boy from Hollow Hut - A Story of the Kentucky Mountains • Isla May Mullins

... pretensions to special skill. Unlike the later explorers, but like Lewis and Clark, Pike could not avail himself of the services of hunters having knowledge of the country. He and his regulars were forced to be their own pioneers and to do their own hunting, until, by dint of hard knocks and hard work, they grew experts, both ...
— The Winning of the West, Volume Four - Louisiana and the Northwest, 1791-1807 • Theodore Roosevelt

... make success. It takes hard knocks to polish you. This is a book of experiences, ...
— Dollars and Sense • Col. Wm. C. Hunter

... jeered Davy Jones, who could take hard knocks without any whimper; "but mother's darling boy ain't home right now. A true scout must learn to sleep in his blanket alone. An old boot will do for a pillow; and he won't ever want to be rocked to sleep either. The breeze will be his lullaby, ...
— The Boy Scouts' First Camp Fire - or, Scouting with the Silver Fox Patrol • Herbert Carter

... Hard knocks are a good medicine for vicious hearts. And you didn't misjudge my character, as far as you went—only, every woman has more than one character. Don't you ...
— A Voyage to Arcturus • David Lindsay

... steel is used to a great extent in the manufacture of automobile and other parts which are likely to be subjected to rough usage. The strength and ability to withstand hard knocks depend to a very considerable degree on the thoroughness with which the ...
— The Working of Steel - Annealing, Heat Treating and Hardening of Carbon and Alloy Steel • Fred H. Colvin

... a woman whom the world had accorded nothing save hard knocks, and she regarded it, upon the whole, as an eminently pleasant place to live in. She accepted its rebuffs with a certain large calm, as being all in the day's work. There was, no doubt, some good and sufficient reason for these inconveniences; ...
— The Cords of Vanity • James Branch Cabell et al

... to-day to repair our boats, which have had hard knocks and are leaking. Two of the men go out with the barometer to climb the cliff at the foot of Whirlpool Canyon and measure the walls; another goes on the mountain to hunt; and Bradley and I spend the day among the rocks, studying an interesting geologic fold and collecting fossils. Late in the afternoon ...
— Canyons of the Colorado • J. W. Powell

... over him. General Palmer was a man of ability, but was not enterprising. His three divisions were compact and strong, well commanded, admirable on the defensive, but slow to move or to act on the offensive. His corps (the Fourteenth) had sustained, up to that time, fewer hard knocks than any other corps in the whole army, and I was anxious to give it a chance. I always expected to have a desperate fight to get possession of the Macon road, which was then the vital objective of the campaign. Its ...
— The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman, Complete • William T. Sherman

... not 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

... of it half of the time. Children must be taught to tell the truth, just as they must be taught the principles of justice and equal rights. They generally get taught by experience—that is, by the rough treatment and hard knocks which they bring upon themselves by their violation of these principles. But the faithful parent can aid them in acquiring the necessary knowledge in a far easier and more agreeable manner by ...
— Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young • Jacob Abbott

... work for Bacon. He had a nice "little wad o' money" when he left the camp and started for La Crosse, but he had been robbed in his hotel the first night in the city, and was left nearly penniless. It was a great blow to him, for, as he said, every cent of that money "stood fer hard knocks an' poor feed. When I smelt of it I could jest see the cold, frosty mornin's and the late nights. I could feel the hot sun on my back like it was when I worked in the harvest-field. By jingo! It kind o' made my toes ...
— Other Main-Travelled Roads • Hamlin Garland

... them a very good turn, but would not let him do himself one; and whenever he looked for some fair chance of a little snug prize-money, they took him away from the likely places, and set him to hard work and hard knocks. But his sense of duty and love of country enabled him to bear it, ...
— Springhaven - A Tale of the Great War • R. D. Blackmore

... in," as he calls it; but however soothing his words may prove to his ill-used Swedish friends, we have considerable doubts as to their emollient effect upon the Countess, supposing always that she condescends to read them. He hits that lady some very hard knocks, not all of them, perhaps, entirely undeserved; makes out an excellent case for the Swedes, and proves, much more satisfactorily to himself than to us, that Madame Hahn-Hahn is of a very inferior grade of ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No. 357, July 1845 • Various

... of one of the apartments to greet Howard. She was a vivacious brunette of medium height, intelligent looking, with good features and fine teeth. It was not a doll face, but the face of a woman who had experienced early the hard knocks of the world, yet in whom adversity had not succeeded in wholly subduing a naturally buoyant, amiable disposition. There was determination in the lines above her mouth. It was a face full of character, the face of a woman who by sheer dint of dogged perseverance might ...
— The Third Degree - A Narrative of Metropolitan Life • Charles Klein and Arthur Hornblow

... said on some occasion, and I am sure by this 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 the circumstances ...
— With Rimington • L. March Phillipps

... tired of hard knocks in fight; Nym compares their late activity to a somewhat florid 'plain-song' [meaning an extempore descant, as explained above]; Pistol says it is a 'just' plainsong. A 'just' plainsong would mean that ...
— Shakespeare and Music - With Illustrations from the Music of the 16th and 17th centuries • Edward W. Naylor

... 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 ...
— The Turtles of Tasman • Jack London

... that is the only kind of money that will buy him any experience worth while. No young man ever learned a great deal when some sentimental old fool footed the bill for his tuition fees in the college of hard knocks." ...
— Cappy Ricks • Peter B. Kyne

... 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 his own ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11 • Various

... said Gascoyne, tartly. "An thou canst not stomach it, let be, and I will e'en carry all three myself. It will make me two journeys, but, thank Heaven, I am not so proud as to wish to get me hard knocks for naught." So saying, he picked up two of the buckets and started away across the court ...
— Men of Iron • Ernie Howard Pyle

... over him; he yielded to it, and departed secretly. A natural longing took him to his birthplace in Biscay, where he had seen his surviving relatives. There he met the Cardinal of Burgos, who took him into his service, promising him profit, hard knocks to give and take, and plenty of adventure. Some time after, he left the cardinal's household for that of his brother, who, much against his will, compelled him to follow him to the war and bear arms against the French. Thus he found himself on the Spanish side on the day of St. Quentin, ...
— Celebrated Crimes, Complete • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... whole orange doesn't belong to nobody. No one owns more than his bit of a quarter an' there's times it seems like there's not enow quarters to go round. But don't you—none o' you—think as you own th' whole orange or you'll find out you're mistaken, an' you won't find it out without hard knocks." What children learns from children,' she says, 'is that there's no sense in grabbin' at th' whole orange—peel an' all. If you do you'll likely not get even th' pips, an' them's ...
— The Secret Garden • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... you as well as 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 ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 • Anonymous

... a code of honour in our game, old man," he said, "and there are lots of men in the German secret service who live up to it. We give and take plenty of hard knocks in the rough-and-tumble of the chase, but ambush and ...
— The Man with the Clubfoot • Valentine Williams

... 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 to be at work hard enough and long enough ...
— The Making of an American • Jacob A. Riis

... necessary for the purposes of loot, or of escape from those who, like Doria, interfered with their particular method of gaining a livelihood; but, on the other hand, they were no fools, they did not covet hard knocks and the possibility of defeat from such a one as the admiral of the Emperor, when by the exercise of a little ingenuity they could keep out of his way. Dragut was not going to fight a general action at sea merely to please Doria; in this summer his luck stood to him, and he never ...
— Sea-Wolves of the Mediterranean • E. Hamilton Currey

... like putting the springs of life into property. Makes it worth fifty per cent. more; and then ye'll get the hard knocks out to a better profit. Old southerners spoil niggers, makin' so much on 'em; and soft-soapin' on 'em. That bit o' property's bin spiled just so-he points to Harry, crouched in the corner-And the critter thinks he can preach! Take that out on him with a round ...
— Our World, or, The Slaveholders Daughter • F. Colburn Adams

... 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 ...
— Lonesome Land • B. M. Bower

... horses hurdled logs, sometimes two at once. My old lion chases with Buffalo Jones had made me skillful in dodging branches and snags, and sliding knees back to avoid knocking them against trees. For a mile the forest was comparatively open, and here we had a grand and ringing run. I received two hard knocks, was unseated once, but held on, and I got a stinging crack in the face from a branch. R.C. added several more black-and-blue spots to his already spotted anatomy, and he missed, just by an inch, a solid snag that would have broken him in two. The pack stretched out in wild staccato chorus, ...
— Tales of lonely trails • Zane Grey

... Punch's 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 ...
— The Atlantic Monthly , Volume 2, No. 14, December 1858 • Various

... nothing else to speak of. His poor Army, fighting never so well in 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 Pamphlets, SOEPIUS.] Portentous ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XV. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... of womanhood. She had grown tall, round, and her face had the loveliness of perfect complexion, beautiful eyes and hair and an added touch from within that might have been called comprehension. It was a compound of self-reliance, hard knocks, heart hunger, unceasing work, and generosity. There was no form of suffering with which the girl could not sympathize, no work she was afraid to attempt, no subject she had investigated she did not understand. These things combined to produce a breadth and depth of character altogether ...
— A Girl Of The Limberlost • Gene Stratton Porter

... first of these ships was commanded by a young man of very little professional experience, but of high court influence; while the second had a captain who, like old Parker, had worked his way up to his present station, through great difficulties, and by dint of hard knocks, and harder work. Unfortunately the first ranked, and the humble capitaine de fregate, placed by accident in command of a ship of the line, did not dare to desert a capitaine de vaisseau, who had a duc for ...
— The Two Admirals • J. Fenimore Cooper

... 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

... yet thankful to find that I could go about my day's business, a little stiffened from my fall, a trifle weaker than usual, and with an aching and somewhat misshapen head. But a detective learns to bear occasional hard knocks with fortitude, and I was thankful to be out of the affair ...
— Against Odds - A Detective Story • Lawrence L. Lynch

... lad left his job in the cook tent, never to return to it. After many hard knocks and some heavy falls he succeeded in so mastering the act that he was able to go through with it without great risk of serious injury to himself. The educated mule and the boy became a feature of the Sparling Combined Shows ...
— The Circus Boys on the Flying Rings • Edgar B. P. Darlington

... told what he himself had seen and heard—not very much, but a beginning, a hook to hang his story upon. The I. W. W. hall was the meeting place for the casual and homeless labor of the country, the "bindle-stiffs" who took the hardest of the world's hard knocks, and sometimes returned them. There was no kind of injustice these fellows hadn't experienced, and now and then they had given blow for blow. Also there were loose talkers among them, who worked off their feelings by threats of vengeance ...
— 100%: The Story of a Patriot • Upton Sinclair

... Lindsay has been saving a life, has he, and got some hard knocks doing it, hey, Susan Posey? Well, well, Clement Lindsay is a brave fellow, and there is no need of hiding his name, my child. Let me take the letter again a moment, Susan Posey. What is the date ...
— The Guardian Angel • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... other, "I feel sorry for you—you will get some hard knocks from the world before you get through. You will have to learn to take life as you find it. Perhaps many of us would make it different, if we could have our way. But you will find that life is a hard battle. It is a struggle for existence, ...
— Samuel the Seeker • Upton Sinclair

... and short order—the other b'hoys, with that love of fair play which honorably distinguishes the Anglo-Saxon race all over the world, remaining impartial spectators of the fight. Travis had never equalled this feat, but he had seen a good deal of low life and hard knocks on the sly, proper and fashionable as he always ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 5, No. 3, March, 1852 • Various

... commanded by Major-General Webb gave and received about as hard knocks as any that were delivered in that action, in which Mr. Esmond had the fortune to serve at the head of his own company in his regiment, under the command of their own colonel as major-general; and it was his good luck to bring the ...
— Henry Esmond; The English Humourists; The Four Georges • William Makepeace Thackeray

... me teach you in the next two or three years, the world will teach you very harshly later. We none of us can go through life, least of all a woman, doing what we like, knocking against every one as we go along. We get very hard knocks back, and they hurt. We miss, too, the best happiness that life can give. It contains none to equal that of making other people happy. As we treat them, they ...
— Fifty-Two Stories For Girls • Various



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



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