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Meaning of hard time

hard' time'

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a period of difficulties or hardship.
  2. time actually served in a prison or other penal institution: He had merely been fined before, but now was sentenced to 90 days' hard time in the county jail.
  3. to bother, annoy, or harass: He gave me a hard time about the money I owe him.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.