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A.Word.A.Day--hardscrabble

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: Red-herring words

hardscrabble (HARD-skrab-uhl)
adjective:

1. Yielding little for much effort.
2. Relating to a place that provides for bare subsistence.

[From English hard + Dutch schrabbelen (to scrape). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sker- (to cut) that's also the source of words such as skirt, sharp, scrape, screw, shard, shears, carnage, curt, and carnivorous.]

"How did young Mildred, a homely, chubby, fatherless kid, reared on a hardscrabble Iowa farm during the Great Depression manage to work up the genius to relish every minute of her life?"
Elizabeth Gilbert; The Home Place; The New York Times; Jul 1, 2007.

See more usage examples of hardscrabble in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

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