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'."