Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

hardscrabble

adjective
     
hard‧scrab‧ble [only before noun]
1 hardscrabble land has poor soil and will not produce good crops of food, and sometimes not any food at all:
I remembered it being green and humid, nothing like this hardscrabble land.
2 poor, and working on land that does not produce enough food to eat or crops to sell:
The town is also home to hardscrabble residents who have to eat at the soup kitchen.

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