“The house sat hard by a small stream.”
It did what? Did it fall from the sky, like Dorothy’s farmhouse, and “sit hard” on someone?
Nothing nearly so exciting, I fear. This phrase means simply “near.” My copy of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles tells me that this usage of “hard” (with “by”) is archaic and dates to 1526. The meaning of “hard” is “close, of time or place,” but the sense of “of time” is no longer used. Continue reading “Superannuated Syntax: “Hard by””