a tough nut


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Related to a tough nut: tough nut to crack

a tough nut

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 tough nut to crack! Figuring out the best way to modernize our product without alienating existing customers is definitely a tough nut to crack. The spy we captured is a tough nut; he hasn't said a thing since we began the interrogation.
See also: nut, tough

a tough nut to crack

1. A difficult task to complete. Getting an A in this class will be a tough nut to crack. You want me to find more money in the budget? Ha, there's a tough nut to crack!
2. A challenging and/or unreasonable person to understand or deal with. Our super-strict principal is a tough nut to crack, so I hope Kate can convince her to let us host this event. Because our boss usually keeps to himself, I have no idea what his interests are—he's a tough nut to crack.
See also: crack, nut, tough

a tough nut

or

a hard nut

INFORMAL
If you call someone a tough nut or a hard nut, you mean they have a strong character and are very determined. That Bridget would sort anyone out — she's a tough nut.
See also: nut, tough

a tough nut to crack

or

a hard nut to crack

1. If you say that a problem is a tough nut to crack or a hard nut to crack, you mean that it is difficult to solve. The really tough nut to crack will be to persuade the older staff that change is necessary. The American market is a very hard nut to crack because it is so vast. Note: You can also just refer to a difficult problem as a tough nut or a hard nut. The tough nut for this government is undoubtedly the economy.
2. If you say that someone is a tough nut to crack or a hard nut to crack, you mean that they are difficult to defeat. Harrington has taken 17.5 points from a possible 20 in international singles, making him a tough nut to crack. Three wins and three draws prove United are a hard nut to crack.
See also: crack, nut, tough

a tough (or hard) nut (to crack)

someone who is difficult to deal with or hard to beat; a formidable person. informal
See also: nut, tough

a hard/tough ˈnut (to ˈcrack)

(informal) a very difficult problem to solve; a very difficult person to deal with: Persuading drivers to leave their cars at home and use public transport will be a very tough nut to crack.You’ll find it difficult to make him change his mind. He’s a tough nut.
See also: hard, nut, tough

tough nut to crack

verb
See also: crack, nut, tough