- hardheaded or tough; unsentimentally practical: a hard-nosed labor leader.
- informal tough, shrewd, and practical
“stubborn,” 1927, from hard + nose (n.). Earlier of bullets or shells with hard tips, and of dogs that had difficulty following a scent. Not in common use before 1950s, when it begins to be used of tough or relentless characters generally (Damon Runyon characters, U.S. Marines, Princeton professors, etc.). Soft-nosed seems to have been used only of bullets.