From hardy +‎ -hood. Compare Dutch hardigheid (hardness, callousness), German Hartigkeit (hardness).


hardihood (countable and uncountable, plural hardihoods)

  1. Unyielding boldness and daring; firmness in doing something that exposes one to difficulty, danger, or calamity; intrepidness.
    • 1789, Ann Ward Radcliffe, The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, London: T. Hookham, Chapter 4, p. 81,[1]
      [] he came to impart other news; to prepare the Earl for death; for the morrow was appointed for his execution. He received the intelligence with the firm hardihood of indignant virtue, disdaining to solicit, and disdaining to repine []
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], OCLC 1042815524, part I:
      Their talk, however, was the talk of sordid buccaneers: it was reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity, and cruel without courage; there was not an atom of foresight or of serious intention in the whole batch of them, and they did not seem aware these things are wanted for the work of the world.
    • 1971 John M. Dorsey, Psychology of Emotion, Detroit: Center for Health Education, “My Theory of Emotion,” p. 108,[2]
      Once endured it is enjoyed as my owndom. Elsewhere I refer to this process of enduring hardship as the only possible source of hardihood.
  2. Excessive boldness; foolish daring; offensive assurance.
    • 1643, John Milton, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, London, p. 25,[3]
      [] that God should enact a dispensation for hard hearts to do that wherby they must live in priviledg’d adultery, however it go for the receav’d opinion, I shall ever disswade my self from so much hardihood as to beleeve:
    • 1798, Hannah Brand, Adelinda in Plays and Poems, Norwich, Act I, Scene 1, p. 358,[4]
      I have not the hardihood to dare to be vilely dishonest.
    • 1896, H. G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Chapter 9,[5]
      I began to realise the hardihood of my expedition among these unknown people.
    • 1973, Mary Stewart, The Hollow Hills, New York: William Morrow, Book 1, Chapter 7, p. 84,[6]
      I had not the arrogance—or the hardihood—to test my power again, but I put on hope, as a naked man welcomes rags in a winter storm.
  3. (of a plant) Ability to withstand extreme conditions, hardiness.
    • 1851, Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, London: George Woodfall & Son, Volume 1, p. 144,[7]
      The cheapness and hardihood of the musk-plant and marigold, to say nothing of their peculiar odour, has made them the most popular of “roots” []
    • 1957, Sylvia Plath, “Mayflower” in Collected Poems, New York: Harper & Row, 1981, p. 60,
      Now, as green sap ascends the steepled wood,
      Each hedge with such white bloom astounds our eyes
      As sprang from Joseph’s rod, and testifies
      How best beauty’s born of hardihood.
    • 1995, Wilbur, Richard, “Bone Key”, in Robert Pack, Jay Parini, editors, Introspections: American poets on one of their own poems, Hanover and London: University Press of New England for Middlebury College Press, published 1997, →ISBN, pages 298:
      It’s hardihood that thrives,
      As when a screw pine that the gale has downed,
      Shooting new prop-roots from its trunk, survives
      In bristling disarray by change of ground,

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