Tough definition

tŭf
Able to withstand great strain without tearing or breaking; strong and resilient.

A tough all-weather fabric.

adjective
10
5
Practical and realistic rather than emotional or sentimental.
adjective
6
4
(slang) Fine; great.
adjective
2
0
Strong but pliant; that will bend, twist, etc. without tearing or breaking.
adjective
4
3
That will not cut or chew easily.

Tough steak.

adjective
3
3
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Strongly cohesive; glutinous; viscous; sticky.

Tough putty.

adjective
1
1
Hard to convince or influence; stubborn.
adjective
1
1
Overly aggressive; brutal or rough.
adjective
1
1
Physically hardy; rugged.

Tough mountaineers; a tough cop.

adjective
0
0
Strong-minded; resolute.

A tough negotiator.

adjective
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0
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Aggressive; pugnacious.
adjective
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0
Inclined to violent or disruptive behavior; rowdy or rough.

A tough street group.

adjective
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Difficult to endure; severe; harsh.

A tough winter.

adjective
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Trying or unpleasant.

Had a tough day.

adjective
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0
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.

adjective
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(informal) Unfortunate; too bad.

It was a tough break to get sick on the day of the concert.

adjective
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0
(informal) Unfavorable; bad.

A tough break.

adjective
0
0
(slang) Fine; excellent.
adjective
0
0
Strong of physique; robust; hardy.
adjective
0
0
Displaying mental or moral firmness.
adjective
0
0
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Very difficult; toilsome.
adjective
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0
Vigorous or violent.

A tough fight.

adjective
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0

The tent, made of tough canvas, held up to many abuses.

adjective
0
0
(of food) Difficult to cut or chew.

To soften a tough cut of meat, the recipe suggested simmering it for hours.

adjective
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0

Only a tough species will survive in the desert.

adjective
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0
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He had a reputation as a tough negotiator.

adjective
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(of weather etc) Harsh or severe.
adjective
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0

A bunch of the tough boys from the wrong side of the tracks threatened him.

adjective
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(of questions, etc.) Difficult or demanding.

This is a tough crowd.

adjective
0
0
(material science) Undergoing plastic deformation before breaking.
adjective
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0
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(slang) Used to indicate lack of sympathy.

If you don't like it, tough!

interjection
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A person who obtains things by force; a thug or bully.

They were doing fine until they encountered a bunch of toughs from the opposition.

noun
0
0
To endure.
verb
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0
verb
0
0
Hard to cut or chew.

Tough meat.

adjective
4
5
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A violent or rowdy person; a hoodlum or thug.
noun
1
2
The definition of tough is someone or something strong and flexible, rugged, harsh or hard to chew or cut through.

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.

adjective
0
1
(informal) A tough person; thug.
noun
0
1
(slang) Too bad!
interjection
0
1
that's tough
  • Used to indicate recalcitrance or noncompliance with a complaint or demand.
idiom
0
0
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(slang) tough it out
  • To get through despite hardship; endure:
idiom
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tough it out
  • to remain firm in the face of difficulty, often, specif., in a brazen or defiant way
idiom
0
0
(slang) tough out
  • to remain firm in the face of (a specified difficulty)
    A generation that toughed out the Depression.
idiom
0
0

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
tough
Plural:
toughs

Adjective

Base Form:
tough
Comparative:
tougher
Superlative:
toughest

Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

that's tough
tough it out
tough it out

Origin of tough

  • Middle English from Old English tōh

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English tough, towgh, tou, toȝ, from Old English tōh (“tough, tenacious, holding fast together; pliant; sticky, glutinous, clammy"), from Proto-Germanic *tanhuz (“fitting; clinging; tenacious; tough"), from Proto-Indo-European *denḱ- (“to bite"), nasalised derivative of Proto-Indo-European *deḱ- (“to tear, rip, fray"). Cognate with Scots teuch (“tough"), North Frisian tōch, tÅ«ch (“tough"), Dutch taai (“tough"), Low German tage, taag, taë, taa (“tough"), German zähe, zäh (“tough"), German dialectal zach (“tough").

    From Wiktionary