hard put to (do something)

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hard put to (do something)

Struggling to do or accomplish something, especially because it seems impossible. You'll be hard put to find a better guy than Bill. Come on—if we don't leave soon, we'll be hard put to get there on time.
See also: hard, put

hard ˈput (to it) to do something

,

hard ˈpressed/ˈpushed to do something

able to do something only with great difficulty: I’d be hard put to name all the countries in the world.
See also: hard, put, something
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.
We'd be hard put to it now, if you didn't know, Otto,' grandmother said.
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.
And he, who had always prided himself on his own acutely trained observation, found himself hard put to keep his score ahead.
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
The Special Boat Service Association said: "He was a professional of the highest order, we will be hard put to meet his like again.
Firms keep complaining that they are hard put to get to bank loans and if last year the situation had improved considerably, at the start of 2016 it cannot be regarded as too encouraging for the real sector.