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Earning a bare subsistence, as on the land; marginal: the sharecropper's hardscrabble life.
Barren or marginal farmland.


1. (modifier) (of a place) difficult to make a living in; barren
2. great effort made in the face of difficulties


(ˈhɑrdˌskræb əl)

providing or yielding meagerly in return for much effort: a hardscrabble existence.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.hardscrabble - barely satisfying a lower standard; "the sharecropper's hardscrabble life"
meager, meagerly, meagre, scrimpy, stingy - deficient in amount or quality or extent; "meager resources"; "meager fare"
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References in classic literature ?
Its cost was to be seventy thousand dollars, which was an enormous sum in those hardscrabble days.
Harold Hardscrabble is a literary novel which requires a degree of philosophical and social inspection from its readers as it presents the story of quiet Harold, who lives in a world occupied largely by his own thoughts.
Synopsis: Harold Hardscrabble is a kind of Walter Mitty figure and in this deftly crafted novel by G.
Hardscrabble Vineyard was born in 1985 with an 8-acre planting.
His stories offer compelling insights into the denizens of the region and their complicated, hardscrabble lives.
Simply stated, having a clear, comprehensive and consistent understanding of the competitive set is a critical foundation needed to compete effectively in the hardscrabble CPG world.
In Rhapsody in Schmaltz, he turns his attention to food, specifically the nostalgic brand of cooking served forth from the hardscrabble kitchens of Eastern Europe.
Arid, hardscrabble landscapes could cover up to 56 percent of Earth's land surface by 2100, a new study finds.
For Runners Up, for example, I chose two stories that could easily have won any ordinary contest: first, "Blood by Blood," with its evocation of a brother love that survives despite everything, and an imminent endtimes balefully anticipated by a hardscrabble place and a hardscrabble sensibility.
The current system, he said, had made lives of poor miserable and hardscrabble.
Brown Dog, a hardscrabble, cheerful Indian from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, has appeared in some of Harrison's novella collections, including The Woman Lit by Fireflies (1990) and The Farmer's Daughter (2009).
As in his memorable 2009 immigrant drama "Children of Invention," Chun follows a single mother forced to take extreme measures in the wake of dire economic circumstances; the result evinces a decent sense of atmosphere and a deep-rooted sympathy with hardscrabble lives, but trades in genre conventions too hackneyed and familiar to register with much impact.