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hardtack (countable and uncountable, plural hardtacks)

  1. (nautical) A large, hard biscuit made from unleavened flour and water; formerly used as a long-term staple food aboard ships.
    Synonyms: Anzac wafer, sheet iron, tooth duller, worm castle (all military slang)
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Philander went into the next room [] and came back with a salt mackerel that dripped brine like a rainstorm. Then he put the coffee pot on the stove and rummaged out a loaf of dry bread and some hardtack.
    • 1989, H. T. Willetts (translator), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (author), August 1914, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, →ISBN, page 71:
      Bread and fodder had to be brought up over longer and longer distances, it was more difficult all the time, transport was lacking, the army had already eaten two-thirds of its hardtack, exhausted men were marching in baking heat along sandy roads into emptiness!



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