to give someone a hard time

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - give someone a hard time

"to give someone a hard time"

to be difficult with someone;

to give someone unnecessary difficulty


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - give someone a hard time

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: The boss is always so difficult with me. I thought I had done a pretty good job with the last report but apparently it wasn't good enough. OK. No problem. I thought he would just ask me to redo the report.

Colleague 2: But that wasn't the case?

Colleague 1: Not at all. The boss is still giving me a hard time over my poor performance. He reminds me daily that it was really bad.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - give someone a hard time

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: I have been called in to substitute teach today.

Friend 2: That's great. You have been looking for work.

Friend 1: Sure. Except students always give a substitute teacher such a hard time. They pretend to drop their books to make a loud noise. They pass notes in class and they fool around and generally make the substitute's life a living hell.

Test Your Understanding  

to give someone a hard time - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   952   click for frequency by country

to give someone a hard time - Gerund Form:

Giving your best friend a hard time over his recent display of bad behavior is to be expected.

to give someone a hard time - Examples:

1)  ... very tough and will give my base of voters further reason to give me a hard time. But it's got to be done.

2)  Ignore the people who either don't like you or give you a hard time.

3)  I wasn't going to give him a hard time about it. We all had our fears.

4)  If people give you a hard time and tell you to get your nose out of a book, tell them ...

5)  I suggest that if your going to give someone a hard time over a comment, take the time to make sure they authored the comment.

6)  ... for no other reason than it would really irritate the neighbors who give us a hard time about EVERYTHING.

7)  I remember when our teacher told us: "If your children give you a hard time you should say, 'Thank you very much for training my soul'."

8)  ... his supervisor must have remembered what happened before because they didn't give me a hard time about it. 

9)  They're our favorite company and we give them a hard time because we expect only the best from them. When they screw up, ...

10)  ... we get silly advice to management such as, "don't give employees a hard time about their weaknesses, celebrate their strengths."

11)  The surf and the current were giving me a hard time, especially with the dive float. I was being taken west. 

12)  ... grooming routine. The pup is 5 months old and is already giving you a hard time - stop the behavior now and teach this dog to accept daily combing/brushing or ...

13)  Are you always giving yourself a hard time, telling yourself that you look ridiculous, that you are no good, ...

14)  Examples of meritorious character are not giving people a hard time over some paltry matter or abandoning nitpicking over trivialities.

15)  Yoga during the off-season. Some of his fellow teammates are giving him a hard time because he is participating in a form of exercise that many females also find ...

16)  Edney gave me a hard time for making the wrong prediction. Fair enough. 

17)  ... ran away, got suspended and from the time he was little gave teachers a hard time and wouldn't do homework. 

18)  He gave me a hard time about everything, but it was all in good fun and it always turned ...

19)  He wanted to take a vacation in Canada and the immigration officers gave him a hard time saying that he has lost his PR and that he needs to talk to ...

20)  But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me a hard time. I didn't think much of them either.