- An example of tough is vinyl.
- An example of tough is a champion boxer.
- An example of tough is the day after a sleepless night.
- An example of tough is beef jerky.
- strong but pliant; that will bend, twist, etc. without tearing or breaking
- that will not cut or chew easily: tough steak
- strongly cohesive; glutinous; viscous; sticky: tough putty
- strong of physique; robust; hardy
- displaying mental or moral firmness
- hard to convince or influence; stubborn
- practical and realistic rather than emotional or sentimental
- overly aggressive; brutal or rough
- very difficult; toilsome
- vigorous or violent: a tough fight
- Informal unfavorable; bad: a tough break
- Slang fine; excellent: a generalized term of approval
Origin of toughMiddle English from Old English toh, akin to German zäh, tough, viscous, probably from Indo-European base an unverified form denk-, to bite from source tongs
Origin of toughsee adjective
tough it out
- Able to withstand great strain without tearing or breaking; strong and resilient: a tough all-weather fabric.
- Hard to cut or chew: tough meat.
- a. Physically hardy; rugged: tough mountaineers; a tough cop.b. Strong-minded; resolute: a tough negotiator.
- a. Aggressive; pugnacious.b. Inclined to violent or disruptive behavior; rowdy or rough: a tough street group.
- a. Difficult to endure; severe; harsh: a tough winter.b. Trying or unpleasant: had a tough day.c. Difficult to deal with; demanding or troubling: It's tough to go to school and work a full-time job. The exam had many tough questions.d. Informal Unfortunate; too bad: It was a tough break to get sick on the day of the concert.
- Slang Fine; great.
Origin of toughMiddle English from Old English tōh
(comparative tougher, superlative toughest)
- Strong and resilient; sturdy.
- The tent, made of tough canvas, held up to many abuses.
- (of food) Difficult to cut or chew.
- To soften a tough cut of meat, the recipe suggested simmering it for hours.
- Rugged or physically hardy.
- Only a tough species will survive in the desert.
- He had a reputation as a tough negotiator.
- (of weather etc) Harsh or severe.
- Rowdy or rough.
- A bunch of the tough boys from the wrong side of the tracks threatened him.
- (of questions, etc.) Difficult or demanding.
- This is a tough crowd.
- (material science) Undergoing plastic deformation before breaking.
- (slang) Used to indicate lack of sympathy
- If you don't like it, tough!
(third-person singular simple present toughs, present participle toughing, simple past and past participle toughed)
From Middle English tough, towgh, tou, toÈ, from Old English tÅh (“tough, tenacious, holding fast together; pliant; sticky, glutinous, clammy"), from Proto-Germanic *tanhuz (“fitting; clinging; tenacious; tough"), from Proto-Indo-European *dená¸±- (“to bite"), nasalised derivative of Proto-Indo-European *deá¸±- (“to tear, rip, fray"). Cognate with Scots teuch (“tough"), North Frisian tÅch, tÅ«ch (“tough"), Dutch taai (“tough"), Low German tage, taag, taÃ«, taa (“tough"), German zÃ¤he, zÃ¤h (“tough"), German dialectal zach (“tough").