Literally, a hard-bitten dog is always biting down hard on something and not letting go; that kind of dog is a rough, tough, spirited fighter.
Figuratively, someone hard-bitten is tough, gruff, and doesn't give up easily.
Like you'd expect, "HARD BIT 'n."
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “a hard-bitten critic.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The critic was hard-bitten.”)
You might ask, why is this word "hard-bitten" and not "hard-biting," since the hard-bitten person has been doing the biting and not receiving it? As best I can tell, this term follows the same pattern we see in "well-read" and "soft-spoken." We seem to be using the participle form of the verb: the well-read person has read well; the soft-spoken person has spoken softly; the hard-bitten person has bitten hard.
How to use it:
You usually talk about a hard-bitten person (a hard-bitten cynic, critic, commentator, athlete, lawyer, police chief, teacher, parent, etc.) but occasionally you might describe someone's speech or behavior as hard-bitten: "her gravelly, hard-bitten voice," "a hard-bitten stare."
Get more abstract and talk about hard-bitten things and places, if you like: "hard-bitten wisdom," "a hard-bitten addiction," "the hard-bitten coal town."
Once a year or so, I like to reread Strunk and White's little book, The Elements of Style, and picture the authors as hard-bitten old professors who stand behind a podium and bark at their students about using the active voice.
In college, my friends and I laughed endlessly while watching an inspirational video about persistence and being true to yourself... starring the hard-bitten Mr. T. (The Wikipedia page about this video seems accurate but doesn't capture its hilarity, so you really just have to watch it on YouTube. It's called "Be Somebody...or Be Somebody's Fool!")
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "hard-bitten" means when you can explain it without saying "stubborn" or "severe."
Think of a person, place, or thing that only seems really harsh or severe, and fill in the blanks: "Get past _____'s hard-bitten (attitude/appearance/exterior) and you'll discover _____."
Example: "Get past your dad's hard-bitten exterior and you'll discover that he just wants you to have an easier, happier life than he does."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing New Word Order! It's a card game that I recently created; it involves figuring out the order in which certain words and phrases entered our language. I'll give you several words and/or phrases, and you'll use your knowledge of history, slang, technology, popular culture, fashion, psychology, etc. to put them into chronological order. I'll post the right answer to each question on the following day. If you like this game, you can download and print it to play with your family and friends. (It's free.)
Yesterday's task was to place "Barbie" on this timeline:
Carbon date, 1950
Today, your new timeline looks like this:
Serial killing, 1984
Tae Bo, 1994
Try to decide where this term belongs on that timeline: "vacuum-pack."
A Point Well Made:
Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
1. The opposite of HARD-BITTEN is
2. Your _____ is no match for my hard-bitten _____.
A. shiny new device full of glitches .. old TI-83 calculator
B. cozy recliner .. antique rocking chair
C. wit .. willingness to laugh at myself
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Today's word helps us describe the tenacious folks we know--those who just won't quit even when the going gets really, really tough.
You might also use our phrase "h_____ and t____" to talk about how these spirited fighters work on something with force and determination, as if they're wielding a couple of basic tools with both focus and strength.
And you might also say that these hard workers now have a "h_____d" appearance, the result of long, hard, intense work and the suffering that accompanies it.
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