a hard row to hoe

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Related to a hard row to hoe: tough row to hoe

a hard row to hoe

A particularly difficult or problematic task, situation, or set of circumstances to contend with or confront. Tax reform was one of the new president's primary campaign promises, but it will likely prove a hard row to hoe, given the deep divisions in congress. I know finishing this thesis will be a hard row to hoe, but I'm actually looking forward to the challenge.
See also: hard, hoe, row, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a hard row to hoe


a tough row to hoe

A hard row to hoe or a tough row to hoe is a situation which is very difficult to deal with. With four children under six and very little money, my mother had a hard row to hoe. In a criminal prosecution against the police, the prosecutor has a very tough row to hoe. She is the first to admit that being a woman in politics has been a hard row to hoe.
See also: hard, hoe, row, to
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a hard (or tough) row to hoe

a difficult task.
Hoeing a row of plants is used here as a metaphor for very arduous work.
See also: hard, hoe, row, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

tough/hard/long row to hoe, a

A difficult course to follow; hard work to accomplish. This metaphor comes from nineteenth-century America, when most people lived in rural areas and cultivated at least some land. David Crockett used it in his Tour to the North and Down East (1835): “I never opposed Andrew Jackson for the sake of popularity. I knew it was a hard row to hoe; but I stood up to the rack.”
See also: hard, long, row, to, tough
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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