Hard cheese

Posted by Word Camel on August 19, 2002

In Reply to: Hard lines posted by TheFallen 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".

I've also heard this expressed as "hard cheese". If it's not too cheesy I wonder if the two at related and how.