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Hard Lines

Posted by James Briggs on May 22, 2003

I had the following suggestion sent to me the other day. Although possible, the author admits to a guess. Any ideas as to the origin/first use etc? I couldn't find any documentation.

"I've often wondered myself about 'hard yards'.

A complete guess is that it comes from sailing ship days. Setting or taking in sails from the wooden cross-pieces, called 'yards', was arduous and
dangerous work - the more so the higher up a mast a particular yard might be. So to work on one of these might have become known as 'doing the hard yards'."