hard pass

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hard pass (plural hard passes)

  1. An enduring (non-temporary) clearance to enter the West Wing of the White House, signified by a laminated card.
    • 1996, Deposition Transcripts from the Committee Investigation Into the White House Office Travel Matter, →ISBN:
      Did you, in fact, issue a hard pass to Mr. Shapiro? The Witness. I don't recall, but it would be easy to find out.
    • 1997, United States Congress Senate Special Committee to Investigate Whitewater Development Corporation and Related Matters, Investigation of Whitewater Development Corporation and related matters, →ISBN:
      The reason I always wore my hard pass was because I was in charge partly of White House security.
    • 2007, Martha Joynt Kumar, Managing the President's Message, →ISBN:
      In renewing passes, the Press Office and the Secret Service check how often the reporters have entered the White House in order to establish the need for such a credential. Now there are approximately 800 hard pass holders.
    • 2012, Nicolle Wallace, It's Classified: A Novel, →ISBN, page 32:
      She still didn't have a hard pass, the official “all access ticket” to the West Wing. The hard pass signaled to the Secret Service that a complete background check had been turned in by the FBI.
  2. An unequivocal rejection with no possibility of a later change of mind.
    • 2003, The Indus Entrepreneurs, Essentials of Entrepreneurship, →ISBN:
      A hard pass is usually pretty clear: It says that there is no way the VC will invest in your company.
    • 2016, Maisey Yates, Last Chance Rebel, →ISBN:
      Thanks, but I'm going to take a hard pass on your blood money.
    • 2016, Kendall Ryan, The Fix Up, →ISBN:
      Nope. That's a hard pass. I set her profile aside. I might be willing to set him up, but not with someone who's freaking perfect.
  3. (sports) A pass to another player that is delivered with a particularly high level of force.
    • 1995, John Shorey, Hockey Made Easy : Instructional Manual, →ISBN, page 42:
      A soft feather pass is easier to receive and control over a hard pass.
    • 1999, H.C. Dubey, Dph Sports Series-Football, →ISBN, page 164:
      The player with the ball, X,, has his team-mate in sight and can deliver a hard pass to that player's feet.
    • 2006, Dick DeVenzio, Stuff Good Players Should Know: Intelligent Basketball from A to Z, →ISBN:
      You don't throw a hard pass if you can throw it softly.
    • 2012, Jim Hinkson, Lacrosse Fundamentals, →ISBN, page 31:
      Throwing to an experienced player, a passer should throw a hard pass knowing he could catch it with no problem.
  4. (dated) A difficult time in one's life, especially one characterized by financial difficulties.
    • 1821, Sir Walter Scott, Kenilworth:
      I need her prayers, for I am at a hard pass — Strange reports are abroad concerning my way of life.
    • 1873, Charles Gibbon, The casquet of literature, a selection in poetry and prose:
      "It's a' true!" exclaimed Bauldie Queech, in voice of great distress, "it's an ower true tale, as I ken fu' weel, and fu' sadly, though I didna think to hae tauld what I ken o't to ony ane but the minister: but Rory, ye're a fearless and lang-headed chiel at a hard pass, and as ever ye did gude to a puir body at their wits' ends, ye maun e'en help me now."
    • 1885, National and English Review - Volume 5, page 25:
      In the first the supernumeraries consist, on the one hand, of old actors and actresses, some of them of great ability, whom reverse of fortune has brought to this hard pass ; on the other, of ambitious young aspirants of the better class, who are, fortunately for them, undergoing a course of artistic training under Mr. Barrett's able tuition.