Hardy vs. hearty

Hardy means strong, bold, or capable of prevailing through tough conditions. If it wouldn’t make sense to replace hardy with strong or bold, then you probably want hearty, whose main meanings are (1) expressed warmly, (2) providing abundant nourishment, and (3) unequivocal.

Think of hardy as related to hard, and hearty as related to heart. Things that are hardy are strong and hard, while things that are hearty often come from the heart, warm the heart, or give heart. It might also help to remember that hardy often describes people, while hearty usually describes inanimate things. There are exceptions, though.

These distinctions extend to all derivative words, including hardier, heartier, hardiest, heartiest, hardily, and heartily.

Examples

Hardy

A few hardy souls are braving the conditions today despite the blizzard affecting most of Oklahoma. [News OK]

That didn’t stop one hardy surfer from donning his wetsuit yesterday and riding the waves off Co Clare. [Irish Independent]

The hardy plant can handle some frost. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Hearty

After a hearty welcome by CEO Johanna More, who explained the history and capacity of the hospital, the trio were taken on a tour of the neo-natal unit. [10sBalls.com]

When you’ve gotten tired of the same-old chili, taco-dip, hot wings menu, consider a Texas-style hearty soup for the big game. [TheDay.com]

With the hearty approval of its 21-person board of directors, Kirtland-based Holden Arboretum is poised to deliver on its promise to make life better for its trees and visitors. [The News-Herald]

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