Hard lines

Posted by TheFallen on August 18, 2002

In Reply to: Hard lines posted by Less on August 18, 2002

: Hi,
: I learned a phrase "Hard lines" the other day. I know it is used to express the sympathy for someoneone. But I don't know in what context it is used. Does it mean "It's strictly difficult"? Here is an example: A: I failed my driving test again! B: Hard lines. Could you be kind enough to paraphrase these two sentences, and tell me in what miserable situation this phrase will be used. Thank you again.

This paste from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:

"HARD LINES - Hard terms; "rather rough treatment;" exacting. Lines mean lot or allotment (measured out by a line measure)."

A more up to date alternative would be "that's tough".