hard nut to crack

a hard nut (to crack)

A person, thing, situation, or problem that is particularly difficult to understand, solve, or deal with. I've been dating Jenny for over a year, and I still think she's a hard nut to crack! Figuring out the best way to modernize our product without alienating existing customers is definitely a hard nut to crack. The spy we captured is a hard nut; he hasn't said a thing since we began the interrogation.
See also: hard, nut

(a) hard nut to crack

 and (a) tough nut to crack
Fig. difficult person or problem to deal with. This problem is getting me down. It's a hard nut to crack. Tom sure is a hard nut to crack. I can't figure him out.
See also: crack, hard, nut

hard nut to crack

Also, tough nut to crack. A difficult problem; also, an individual who is difficult to deal with. For example, This assignment is a hard nut to crack, or It won't be easy getting her approval; she's a tough nut to crack. This metaphoric expression alludes to hard-shelled nuts like walnuts. [Early 1700s]
See also: crack, hard, nut
References in classic literature ?
Oh, he's a hard nut to crack," said one of the officers who was sitting in the shadow at the other side of the fire.
If it's for me, I'm a hard nut to crack, and I take it standing up.
Bader proved out to be a hard nut to crack for Shoaib, as he took the first set 6-3.
To receive monthly pension has become a hard nut to crack for employees,' said Sifatullah Khan.
Kagiso Matlou proved to be a hard nut to crack together with his defence despite the mistakes they made.
Semi-final opponents Rhos Aelwyd, who knocked out fancied Buckley Town last Saturday, will be a hard nut to crack.
The banknote also includes a picture of the gumnut brooch Cowan had made to symbolise that entry into Parliament was a hard nut to crack for women, and the King Edward Memorial Hospital, a women's and maternity hospital that she helped establish.
The fact that the issue of Jerusalem has been a hard nut to crack doesn't give one side the right to take it off the table.
His wife Kayley will saddle the stable star and at 6/1 with Richard Johnson in the plate, he will be a hard nut to crack.
Lightweight Olympian Okoth also romped into finals with a technical knockout (RSC 2nd round) win over John Mwanzia of Githurai 44, who found the old warhorse a hard nut to crack more so in the opening stages of the second.
IANS Vadodara Dabhoi, one of the 36 constituencies of Gujarat where Muslims can influence the results, appears to be a hard nut to crack for the BJP as the social dynamics and tradition of"no repeat"favours the Congress, prompting the saffron party to rake up anti-Muslim fervour in a bid to polarize the voters.
Park started in promising fashion but the Hoppers' defence proved a hard nut to crack and after six minutes of intense Park pressure in Preston's 22 a loose pass led to the first score of the day.
Argentina were proving a hard nut to crack though and were also offering plenty in attack, which resulted in two penalties from Sanchez.
They've got momentum on their side following Allianz League promotion and a big win over Armagh but have found Tyrone a consistently hard nut to crack.
30pm GLENDA is on a mission to win over Ronnie, but she's a hard nut to crack.