die hard

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die hard

To be difficult to stop or end. This phrase is usually used in the present tense. Old habits die hard, so I'm not surprised that you've struggled to stop smoking.
See also: die, hard

die hard

Take a long time to cease to exist or be dropped from consideration. For example, Old prejudices die hard, or The more radical parts of this proposal will die hard. This idiom alludes to struggling against physical death. [Late 1700s]
See also: die, hard

die hard

disappear or change very slowly.
This expression seems to have been used first of criminals who died resisting to the last on the Tyburn gallows in London. At the battle of Albuera in 1811 , during the Peninsular War, William Inglis , commander of the British 57th Regiment of Foot, exhorted his men to ‘die hard’; they acted with such heroism that the regiment earned the nickname Die-hards. The name was attached later in the century to various groupings in British politics who were determinedly opposed to change. The word diehard is still often used of someone who is stubbornly conservative or reactionary.
See also: die, hard