What does the idiom "drive a hard bargain" mean?

The expression drive a hard bargain is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the drive a hard bargain idiom.

Meaning of "drive a hard bargain"


The phrase "drive a hard bargain" is a common idiom used in English, and it refers to someone who is unwilling to compromise on terms or conditions. It suggests that the person in question is tenacious and stubborn when it comes to negotiating and striking a deal. It implies that the person is willing to go to great lengths to get exactly what they want, even if it means going against the other party's wishes.


The phrase "drive a hard bargain" has been in use since the early 19th century and likely originated from the phrase "drive a hard bargainer", which was used to describe someone who was difficult to negotiate with. It was probably derived from the concept of driving cattle or horses, or pushing and prodding them along, which eventually became a metaphor for persuading or pushing someone into a deal. This eventually became the phrase "drive a hard bargain."


The phrase "drive a hard bargain" is usually used to describe someone who is stubborn and unwilling to compromise on terms or conditions. It is often used in a positive way, to express admiration for someone who is able to get what they want without compromising their principles. It can also be used in a negative way, however, to criticize someone for being too greedy, or too willing to get what they want without considering the needs of the other party.

Example Sentences

  • "He was so determined to get the best deal that he drove a hard bargain and ended up with a great deal."
  • "She always drives a hard bargain, so I was surprised when she accepted the terms we offered."
  • "He drove such a hard bargain that the other side had no choice but to accept his terms."
  • "He was willing to drive a hard bargain in order to get what he wanted."

The meanings of the words in the "drive a hard bargain" idiom

Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms

Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.


No comment has been written about drive a hard bargain yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply