hard-nosed

KLPNO

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Oct 19, 2007
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Russian
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Russian Federation
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Hello everyone,

From the book 99: Stories of the game by Wayne Gretzky.

"[FONT=&quot]He was hard-nosed. Red Kelly told me how Adams would come into the locker room and stand right in front of the player that he was haranguing. He was a little pigeon-toed so he had to watch it or he’d trip. On every team the coach will pick on a guy just to get everyone’s attention. In Detroit in the early 1950s, one of the guys Adams liked to pick on was Benny Woit.[/FONT]"

I looked up "hard-nosed" in several dictionaries and still cannot figure out the meaning of hard-nosed in the cotext above:

Does it simply mean severe/harsh (negative connotation) or does it mean determined and practical person (positive connotation)?

Thank you.
 

Lynxear

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Dec 20, 2007
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Retired English Teacher
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English
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Canada
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"Hard nosed" has many meanings and it depends on the context of the sentence and surrounding sentences to determine what is being meant.

It can mean stubborn, pigheaded, unbending or other such synonyms.
I wish you could be more flexible in your views. You don't have to be so hard-nosed all the time!

It can mean shrewd especially in business matters.

He was a hard-nosed business man at the negotiating table. He knew what he wanted and gave few concessions to the opposition in his relentless pursuit of his goals.

It can mean a tough intimidating athlete

The offensive linesman gave a hard-nosed stare as he settled into his crouch before the snap of the ball. There was no way that his opponent would get by him this time.

It can mean severe
His hard-nosed look gave him a frightening appearance to others
.

This is only a sampling of ways "hard-nosed" can be used. I should note that I use a hyphen between "hard" and "nosed". I have seen it written "hardnosed" or just "hard nosed". I think all versions are fine. Perhaps one is more AE and the others is more BE. However, as I have often said, Canadian English accepts all versions.
 
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