• difficult to understand or solve
      When something is complex or challenging to comprehend or figure out, it can be described as a hard nut to crack.

    • tough or resilient
      This phrase can also refer to someone who is tough, strong, or persistent in the face of adversity or challenges.

    • unemotional or unyielding
      In some cases, this idiom can also describe someone who is emotionally closed off or stubborn, making it difficult to connect with them or change their opinions.

Examples of A hard nut to crack

  • The company's new marketing strategy was a hard nut to crack at first, but with persistence and creativity, they were able to break through and see success.

    This idiom is used to describe something that is difficult to understand, solve, or overcome. The image of a hard nut (such as a walnut) is used to illustrate the idea that it takes effort and determination to crack open and reveal what's inside. In this example, the company's new marketing strategy presented a challenge that required effort and creativity to overcome, but with persistence, they were able to succeed.


Overall, the phrase "a hard nut to crack" is used to describe something or someone that is difficult to understand, solve, or break through. It can refer to complex problems, resilient individuals, or unemotional and stubborn personalities. This idiom is often used in a figurative sense and can be applied to a variety of situations.

Origin of "A hard nut to crack"

The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the 1600s, with the word "nut" referring to a seed or fruit encased in a hard shell. The phrase was initially used to describe literal nuts that were difficult to crack open, but it eventually evolved to have a more figurative meaning.

One theory suggests that the phrase may have originated from the game of nut cracking, where players would compete to see who could crack open the most difficult nuts. Another theory links it to the practice of cracking walnuts or other nuts as a way to test one's strength and perseverance.

Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom "a hard nut to crack" has become a widely used expression in English, and its meaning has expanded beyond literal nut cracking to encompass a variety of challenging or resilient situations.