Hardness is a measure of how resistant solid matter is to various kinds of permanent shape change when a compressive force is applied. Some materials, such as metal, are harder than others. Macroscopic hardness is generally characterized by strongintermolecular bonds, but the behavior of solid materials under force is complex; therefore, there are different measurements of hardness: scratch hardness, indentation hardness, and rebound hardness.

Hardness is dependent on ductility, elastic stiffness, plasticity, strain, strength, toughness, viscoelasticity, and viscosity.