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hard cheese

bad luck


hard cheese = Pech gehabt!



"HARD CHEESE: cheddar and other UK treats (will be) restricted imports after Brexit."

Dutch News Headline

“HARD CHEESE in Luxembourg? Boris Johnson hopes to send tough new message to EU in face-to-face talks.”

ITV News

Did you

hard cheese (also tough/stiff cheese/cheddar)
informal - chiefly British, often used interjectionally

- something that you say to indicate that you have no sympathy for someone and will not do anything to help them

The Cambridge Dictionary


Used as a way of saying that you are sorry about something, but in an ironic way (when you really mean the opposite):

“I’ve made my decision — I’m going to schedule the meeting for 08:00, and if some members don't agree, then that's just hard cheese!”

Facial expression and tone of voice is very important in using this expression, which is why hard cheese is primarily a spoken rather than a written phrase.


The figurative meaning of ‘hard cheese’ is clearly an allusion to an unwelcome and indigestible course of events. The first known use was in 1854.

But what if you REALLY are sorry about someone’s bad luck? You can say:

- better luck next time
- commiserations
- hard luck
- tough luck
- never mind
- hard lines
- tough noogies
- I’m sorry to hear that

Practice OWAD in an English conversation, say something like:

“Jim got drunk last night, overslept, and missed his appointment,… some would say ‘hard cheese!’”

P.S. A BIG THANKS to my “Friends-of-OWAD” who are helping me to keep the service going :)

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