die hard

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maybenot

Member
Japanese
What exactly does die hard (as in the movie title) mean?

If you can die hard, how about forget hard?

Similarly, does it make sense to say something like love hard, live hard, eat hard, sleep hard, run hard, talk hard, sing hard, swim hard, think hard ( I know this one works!), or even teach hard (as opposed to study hard)?
 
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    A "die hard" is someone who stubbornly sticks to his ways even in the face of untenable odds.

    I think this is a play on words also, meaning "hard to kill".
     

    anothersmith

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Wow, you've asked a really difficult question! "[verb] + hard" is a formula that's typically used with certain verbs -- such as "study." "I studied hard" is a common expression, at least in the U.S. Because of that, we all knew what the name of the movie "Die Hard" meant, even though we may never have heard the expression before (I hadn't).

    The verbs that sound unnatural to me in this formula are "eat" and "sing." I've never heard them used with "hard" before. I've heard all the other verbs used with "hard" before, but not frequently.

    Others will probably disagree, based on their own experience.

    P.S. I've never heard "forget hard" before today.
     

    Black Opal

    Senior Member
    English
    It's an artistic title, for effect.

    Die-hard (note hyphen) means 'never give up'.

    Examples:

    He is a die-hard Star Trek fan (he is a keen fan of Star Trek)
    She is a die-hard smoker (she smokes a lot and can't or won't give up)

    The hero in the film, in fact, fights to the end.
    He is also hard to kill (by the terrorists).

    I also found this on Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_hard_(phrase)

    And this on Phrasefinder

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/die-hard.html

    Both offer explanations.

    You can use hard on the end of a variety of other words, including talk hard, live hard, run hard, but I suspect a new post would be required for each in order to discuss properly and in depth :)
     

    maybenot

    Member
    Japanese
    A "die hard" is someone who stubbornly sticks to his ways even in the face of untenable odds.

    I think this is a play on words also, meaning "hard to kill".
    Ah, in the sense of Old habits die hard! Thanks.

    Bruce Wills = old habits, or someone hard to get rid of (from the perspective of the criminals who confront him)

    But then, how about other examples of a verb+hard?
     

    maybenot

    Member
    Japanese
    Wow, you've asked a really difficult question! "[verb] + hard" is a formula that's typically used with certain verbs -- such as "study." "I studied hard" is a common expression, at least in the U.S. Because of that, we all knew what the name of the movie "Die Hard" meant, even though we may never have heard the expression before (I hadn't).

    The verbs that sound unnatural to me in this formula are "eat" and "sing." I've never heard them used with "hard" before. I've heard all the other verbs used with "hard" before, but not frequently.

    Others will probably disagree, based on their own experience.

    P.S. I've never heard "forget hard" before today.

    Thanks, anothersmith. This helps.

    >Others probably disagree, based on their own experience.

    And stand-alone expressions that sound odd often turn out to be OK-sounding when placed in proper contexts!
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I just looked this up in Websters 3rd International.

    Die-hard = offering extreme resistance to change

    Diehard = someone that dies hard, as in an intractable opponent; also a Scottish Terrier.

    Die hard is not in the dictionary as a phrase. So it could be an amalgam of the two meanings or something else. Your choice.

    Titles of books and movies do not always have to make perfect sense; they are really just marketing tools. It they bring people into the theater, then the titles make sense.

    There is a series of books by John Sandford where he uses "prey" in all the titles: Sudden Prey, Rules of Prey, etc. The titles are similar so that people who enjoyed the earlier ones will also buy the other titles.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    What exactly does die hard (as in the movie title) mean?

    If you can die hard, how about forget hard?

    Similarly, does it make sense to say something like love hard, live hard, eat hard, sleep hard, run hard, talk hard, sing hard, swim hard, think hard ( I know this one works!), or even teach hard (as opposed to study hard)?
    Isn't it called "Live free or die hard"?

    That would be very easy to understand.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    To "die hard" means "to die with difficulty". It certainly does not date from 1811 and the Peninsular War, as the articlescited above state, but is an older expression. Here, for example, is an excerpt from an eyewitness account of the death of George Washington, in Virginia in 1799:
    About 5 O'clock Dr. Craik came again into the Room & upon going to the bedside, the General said to him, "Doctor, I die hard; but I am not afraid to go
     

    anothersmith

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    To "die hard" means "to die with difficulty". It certainly does not date from 1811 and the Peninsular War, as the articlescited above state, but is an older expression. Here, for example, is an excerpt from an eyewitness account of the death of George Washington, in Virginia in 1799:
    About 5 O'clock Dr. Craik came again into the Room & upon going to the bedside, the General said to him, "Doctor, I die hard; but I am not afraid to go
    That's interesting, GreenWhiteBlue; I had no idea the phrase had such a heritage!
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    It's definitely a play on words!
    Hmmm........When I first saw the title, I thought it means "Live with freedom or die fighting for it" (but well, do we have to spend all this time discussing the meaning of the name of a blockbuster? :rolleyes: :D)
     

    anothersmith

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    That's exactly what New Hampshire's motto means (it was a revolutionary slogan). Adding "hard" to the end of the motto simply evokes the original film in this series: "Die Hard."

    So I think it's a very clever name for the third film in the series!
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Note that Sears, the large North American retailer, markets a line of automotive batteries called the DieHard - supposedly longer lived than other brands.
     

    Black Opal

    Senior Member
    English
    To "die hard" means "to die with difficulty". It certainly does not date from 1811 and the Peninsular War, as the articlescited above state, but is an older expression.
    Yes, as can be seen in my other quote (relating to Tyburn and hanging), which people seem to be ignoring.

    Consider this quote, from The Execution of Gibson and Payne, 1768, by John Boswell:

    "He shewed no stupid insensibility, nor did he affect to brave it out like those hardened wretches who boast that they die hard. He appeared to all the spectators a man of sense and reflexion, of a mind naturally sedate and placid. He submitted with a manly and decent resolution to what he knew to be the just punishment of the law"...
    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/boswellj/hanging.htm
     

    lovebutt

    New Member
    Canada
    One definition of...

    Hard: oppressive or unjust in nature or effect

    Free: not affected or restricted by a given condition or circumstance

    I think these definitions can apply to the movie.
     

    KHS

    Senior Member
    Note that Sears, the large North American retailer, markets a line of automotive batteries called the DieHard - supposedly longer lived than other brands.
    When the movie first came out, it is precisely these batteries that I associated with the title. They had lots of ads about how, under the most extreme circumstances, you could always rely on their batteries to get you through.

    Karen
     
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