I have used the word hardstuck to mean "permanently unable to move". It is a more intense version of stuck, since stuck can sometimes mean "temporarily unable to move" or "unable to move without extended effort". For example: "I am hardstuck on this coding problem, can you help?" meaning "I have no hope of solving this coding problem, can you help?".

I have heard hardstuck or hard stuck primarily used to describe the situation where a person is unable to move up and out of their current rank in competitive online gaming, and I assume that it is a neologism.

Is it a neologism? What is the word's etymology?

Google Trends indicates that the term gained usage in the U.S. beginning in 2017.

  • It's slang: you are stuck in a bad way at a place. You cannot move. to be stuck in a place. It's from that.
    – Lambie
    Dec 3, 2019 at 22:41
  • It is a neologism if you are the first person to use it. You made it up. If you have come across someone else using it, then you should cite the passage and ask if that is a neologism. Every word has been a neologism once, since ‘neologism’ means the use of a word not used before. There is a phrase which does much the same job: ‘stuck fast’. That is used mostly for physical things. But you could check a good and recent (comprehensive) dictionary. If ‘hardstuck’ isn’t there, then it might be a (sort of) neologism.
    – Tuffy
    Dec 3, 2019 at 23:28
  • @Tuffy I don't think a word like 'horse' was ever a neologism.
    – Mitch
    Dec 4, 2019 at 3:42
  • We shall never know. Arguably, the term only makes complete sense after dictionaries or at least formal scholarship emerge. Also, you are right, most of our vocabulary has evolved gradually.
    – Tuffy
    Dec 4, 2019 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


It looks to me like this expression originated in the League of Legends community (which is still the gaming community that uses it the most, it seems). All of these are in reference to rating, which at the time was the Elo rating system.

So far I found something as far back as late 2015 via Twitter:

we are same pisselo only difference is u have 2k games HARD stuck next time u shower i hope it come gas — November 18th, 2015

Examples are much more plentiful starting in 2016, as this Twitter search shows. Late 2016 is also when I first found an example of it being written as one word:

faker hardstuck in D2 for 2 seasons Lmao —November 7th, 2016

Here are some more early-ish examples from across the web:

@Joekerism getting therapy for hard stuck d1 — April 1st, 2016

ok i admit it....im hard stuck in silver 3.....halp — April 14th, 2016

i had fun making some threads when pro players got placed like in silver at the beginning of the season and were hard stuck there until riot dished out the "fix" or they duo'd heavily and basically stomped games without mercy — December 17th, 2016

Yeah i'm currently so hard stuck in plat it's unbelievable. January 1st, 2017

personally i was hard stuck in d3 60 points exactly — February 6th, 2017

No offense, but LB is probably a bit too hard for you if you are hard stuck bronze. — February 6th, 2017

don't really care hey, at least im not hardstuck diamond XD — March 6th, 2017

Define hardstuck — April 4th, 2017

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