A character input by the user to indicate that the current line of text is to end and a new line is to begin. In word-processing programs that automatically break lines within the margins of a page, a hard return indicates the end of a paragraph. In text-entry programs that lack wordwrap, on the other hand, a hard return is required to end each line, and often two or more hard returns are needed to end a paragraph. See also wordwrap. Compare soft return.