Meaning of hardpan

hard•pan

Pronunciation: (härd'pan"), [key]
— n.
  1. any layer of firm detrital matter, as of clay, underlying soft soil. Cf. caliche, duricrust.
  2. hard, unbroken ground.
  3. the fundamental or basic aspect of anything; solid foundation; underlying reality: the hardpan of mathematical theory.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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