Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Hard Lines.

 Hard By.Hard Up. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Hard Lines.
Hard terms; “rather rough treatment;” exacting. Lines mean lot or allotment (measured out by a line measure), as, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage,” i.e. my allotment is excellent. Hard lines = an unfavourable allotment (or task).   1
        “That was hard lines upon me, after I had given up everything.”—G. Eliot.

 Hard By.Hard Up. 


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