Die Hard

Meanings of “Die Hard”

The phrase “die hard” means a person who is headstrong, determined, or devoted, and does not change his/her minority views, or his stance at any cost, and stays defiant to the circumstances.

Origin of “Die Hard”

The phrase “die hard” is stated to have originated from Psychologia, a book published back in 1703 in which this term has been used for the condemned man’s approach toward death as, “Against this Reason he [William Coward] urges the case of those that die hard, as they call it, at Tyburn who will therefore, according to him, out-brave the Terrors of the Lord..”

Later, this word was used for the followers of the Conservative party but in the 20th century, it has entered the general list of words used for brave persons or even fanatics.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Old Gods Die Hard by Edwin Millet

“old gods die hard       clinging
to crags and steeples   driving
wild winds through bleak bell towers             searing
ritual curtains into wretched rags       rousing
tumbling rocks from trembling earth taunting
dead souls from tight graves –
old gods die hard.”

These lines in a beautiful poem comprise all small letters and a space tab at the end of every line except the last two. These words occurring after the blank join with the next line and express extended definitions. Millet has lashed out at the externalities of theological manifestations, adding this phrase with the old gods to taunt the religious bureaucracy. He is of the view that these manifestations of religion prove as fanatic as the believers. Therefore, the phrase shows its metaphorical as well as denotative use.

Example #2

Die Hard by Judith Moffett

A first blush, discomfiting
To turn so beyond belief
Credulous no time after the creed
Failed than which anything

Must have seemed less
Unbelievable – Yeti, UFO
Spacecraft, witchcraft,
Monster in Loch Ness –

Till time told why
Any world’s more likely,
Than one whose truths all
Always meet the eye

This poem shows those incredulous fellows who do not believe anything in this modern age. It seems that they hold grounds against every argument whether it is about science, Yeti, or UFO, and continue with their belief, believing only what comes to their mind or what they see. The poet has interpreted the phrase, using it as a metonymy as it states everything else associated with it.

Example #3

Die Hard by Marc E. Bassy

“If you still stick by me
We could find the right timing
Yeah, I’m gonna give you my heart
And let the old habits die hard
I know it don’t seem like it now
I swear we can turn this around
Yeah, I’m gonna give you my heart
And let the old habits die hard.”

In these lines,  the singer swears before his beloved that he is aiming at finding the right cooperation for both but the condition is that she must stick to him, though old habits die hard. He repeats the same resolve to make her believe that he is going to stick to her come what may. The phrase has been repeated once in the middle and then at the end but with “the old habits” by which the singer means that he is fanatical about his old habits. Therefore, the phrase shows its use as a denotation.

Example #4

Die Hard by Wayne C. Lee

The story revolves around the struggle of the Belford family, stating how they save their hard-earned four thousand dollars, for outlaws are after their money. When they reach the family, they not only torture Vance and his father but also take their money away, while Dan dies during the struggle. After reaching Denver, Dan becomes die hard to track the robbers and kill them. This attitude of Dan Belford shows its reflection in the title of the novel. Therefore, this is a metaphorical rendering of the phrase.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “The die-hard football fanatics were planning a rebirth of their town’s team.”

Example #2: “Next morning, I saw a few die-hards setting up a fundraising event for some little pups in our colony. It was heart-warming to witness something like that.”

Example #3: “When the first wave of the attack descends upon them, most of the diehard soldiers fled for their lives. The rest were routed immediately and killed, while several of them fell in the ditch never to come up again.”

Example #4: “I was a die hard Wintel user for a lot of years although Macs were more promising. There’s something about the loyalty we have towards certain brands.”

Example #5: “Ronny was a die hard fan of the video game NFS until she was 18 years old! But, she never left her madness for it all these years.”