(hard/tough) nut to crack


1. someone/something hard to understand or deal with






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the problem is a hard/tough nut to crack

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Something or someone who is 'a tough nut to crack' or 'a hard nut to crack' is a problem that is challenging to solve or a person who is difficult to deal with. A person who is 'a tough nut to crack' might be difficult to understand or someone who doesn't easily reveal their true feelings to others or who can't be influenced easily. Similar in meaning to 'a tough cookie' or 'a tall order'.

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  1. Despite knowing Alex for nearly 5 years, I still haven't figured out what makes him tick. He's a hard nut to crack! 
  2. I can't get my teenage son to talk to me about what's happening in school, it's a tough nut to crack.
  3. Counterfeit goods are proving a tough nut to crack for customs. It's estimated that over 31million fake goods flood the market each year.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Advance)

  1. The issue with the design has been causing us problems for weeks. It's proving to be a very tough nut to crack.

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