hard put to

hard put to do something

finding something difficult to do None of the family I was staying with spoke English and I was hard put to recall my high school French. You'd be hard put to find any other college students more deserving of the award.
See also: hard, put
References in classic literature ?
The landlady, who governed herself with much difficulty, began now the necessary preparations; for as to Susan, she was utterly rejected, and with such disdain, that the poor wench was as hard put to it to restrain her hands from violence as her mistress had been to hold her tongue.
When a woman debauched from her youth, nay, even being the offspring of debauchery and vice, comes to give an account of all her vicious practices, and even to descend to the particular occasions and circumstances by which she ran through in threescore years, an author must be hard put to it wrap it up so clean as not to give room, especially for vicious readers, to turn it to his disadvantage.
The simplest abstraction was practically beyond our thinking; and when one did happen to think one, he was hard put to communicate it to his fellows.
Rum articles to cut away from, these; she must have been hard put to it
There were anthropoid apes and gorillas--these I had no difficulty in recognizing; but there were other forms which I had never before seen, and I was hard put to it to say whether they were ape or man.
And on Bella's exquisite toilette table was an ivory casket, and in the casket were jewels the like of which she had never dreamed of, and aloft on an upper floor was a nursery garnished as with rainbows; 'though we were hard put to it,' said John Harmon, 'to get it done in so short a time.
But now in this Valley of Humiliation poor Christian was hard put to it.
It may be guessed that they were very hard put to it; for, as they were to wait this half-hour for an answer, they begged they would send them out some bread in the meantime, which they did, sending at the same time a large piece of goat's flesh and a boiled parrot, which they ate very eagerly.
Our friend, the doctor, was hard put to it when he wrote this.
S blood, Beauchamp," he continued, turning to one of his companions, "an' were he set down in court I wager our gracious Queen would he hard put to it to tell him from the young Prince Edward.
It oughtn't to be owing, I know, but we have been hard put to it, indeed
McMahon, 35, can look forward to a long career at Westminster - though he'll be hard put to match leftwinger Michael Meacher, who was MP for the constituency for 45 years until his death in October.
In his view, with the foreseen allocation, the Ombudsman's Office will be hard put to carry out its preventive function.
Dubai: UAE companies need to work on ways to expand the scope of their employee benefits -- failing that they would be hard put to retain, or find, talent.
If he were to tune into Wales' English speaking broadcasting media he would be hard put to realise that he was not listening to news emanating from England and in an accent from the public school end of the spectrum.