the hard way


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the hard way

1. Personal experience that is difficult, painful, or unpleasant, especially as teaches or strengthens someone. Starting your own business is really tough. I had to learn that the hard way.
2. The most challenging or difficult means (of doing something). He insists on doing his taxes by hand every year, rather than hiring an accountant or using software to make it easier—he always has to do things the hard way.
See also: hard, way

hard way, the

By bad or difficult experiences; also, by one's own efforts. For example, Bill found out the hard way that interest on his credit-card debt can mount up fast, or No one can teach you how-you'll just have to learn it the hard way. This expression comes from shooting craps (a dice game), where it refers to making an even-numbered point such as six by throwing doubles (two three's). Since there are more unmatching combinations that can produce the same number (four and two, five and one), the odds against throwing doubles are higher, hence the difficulty. [Early 1900s]
See also: hard

the hard way

through suffering or learning from the unpleasant consequences of mistakes.
1996 Nozipo Maraire Zenzele I think she understands better than the rest of us that we are at heart one family, for she has had to learn the hard way.
See also: hard, way
References in classic literature ?
The dullest head among them knew, that night, that the hard ways of poverty would be all the harder to walk on, now he was gone.
We had a moment of exquisite forgetfulness of the hard ways of life--a moment of delicious absorption in each other.
In these thirty words, Robinson alerts us to several essential qualities of his writing: his embededness in a specific place, Roundstone Bog; his admission that these are explorations, not conclusions; and crucially, his willingness to take the hard way, or several hard ways, to get to his point.
We had to learn that the hard way, and hopefully, we can help them learn that the hard way.
Phillips, former executive editor, then publisher of The Wall Street Journal, also wrote The Hard Way foreword.