RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: hard-boiled

From: Anthony Dauer (
Date: 23 Mar 2002

> It would be nice if somebody could come up with
> the origin of the word [hard-boiled as a synonym
> for "tough]

hard-boiled adj by 1886 Severe and uncompromising; strict and pugnacious; =tough: The rather hard-boiled painting that hangs in Father's office--F. Scott Fitzgerald [fr hard-boiled egg].

hard-boiled egg n phr by 1880s A severe and pugnacious person; =tough guy: Our basic idea of a hero is really a "hard-boiled egg"-P Curtiss
[because "it can't be beat"]

Chapman, R. L., Ph.D. (1995). Dictionary of American Slang (3rd ed.). New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Anthony Dauer
Alexandria, Virginia

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