hard as nails

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Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) conservative

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b) tough

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A person is said to be ‘hard as nails’ when they are very tough or callous, stern and unyielding. Someone who is not feeling or showing any emotions such as sympathy, fear, or worry is referred to as ‘hard as nails’.

When referring to a thing, it means tough, durable.

A variant is ‘tough as nails’.

French translation

dur à cuire, coriace, sans cœur

How NOT to translate into French : *dur comme des clous
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Examples in the press

‘Back of the net : Hard as nails Magic striker to play derby

JAYDEN Stewardson had to fight hard to earn a spot in the Broadmeadow Magic first grade side and he is not about to let a few stitches rob him of a derby.


A builder, Stewardson had six stitches in his hand after a work accident. He sat out the 8-0 win over Port United in the FFA Cup but is confident that will be right for the clash against rivals Newcastle Olympic on Sunday.’

Newcastle Herald, 16 June 2021

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‘Minneapolis firefighter Kalimba Edwards wants to prove she is ‘as tough as nails’ – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis fire captain stars in a reality show competition starting next week.
Kalimba Edwards was in California for six months this summer filming the new season of CBS’s “Tough as Nails”. The show pits 12 people against each other in physical competitions that test strength, life skills and mental toughness.’

Good Word News, 30 Sept. 2021

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‘Nokia XR20 : Hard as nails and hard on your pocket

(Pocket-lint) - Nokia has announced what it’s calling its most durable phone ever - the Nokia XR20.

The thinking behind this tougher phone isn’t about giving you a phone that’s ready to be abused, it’s about longevity. To reduce the need to replace your phone because you’ve broken it, Nokia is taking the protection to a higher standard.’

Pocket-lint, 27 July 2021

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Everyday usage

Don’t expect a lot of sympathy from him, he is as hard as nails.

That was his hard-as-nails labour lawyer, Martin Hills.

EnglishTonic and Claramedia, 30 Oct. 2021

c) sensitive

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