Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[ruhf-uh n-tuhm-buh l] /ˈrʌf ənˈtʌm bəl/
characterized by violent, random, disorderly action and struggles:
a rough-and-tumble fight; He led an adventuresome, rough-and-tumble life.
given to such action.
rough and unrestrained competition, fighting, struggling, etc.
Origin of rough-and-tumble
First recorded in 1785-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for rough-and-tumble
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The reception was a tumultuous, almost a rough-and-tumble, affair, everybody reaching out for the guest in his own way.

    The Story of Chautauqua Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
  • Was there ever a rough-and-tumble that anybody could explain lucidly the morning after?

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • The delicate coward shivered at the idea of a rough-and-tumble encounter with an armed buccaneer.

    The Bishop's Secret Fergus Hume
  • Percy realized that in a rough-and-tumble he would be no match for Jabe.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman Albert Walter Tolman
  • But he was made for better things than to seek his fortune in the rough-and-tumble of the world.

British Dictionary definitions for rough-and-tumble


a fight or scuffle without rules
characterized by roughness, disorderliness, and disregard for rules or conventions
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for rough-and-tumble



Free and uninhibited; with no limits or reservations; no holds barred: It was a rough-and-tumble confrontation

[1832+; originally of a fight where the usual rules were not observed; an article of 1810 says that ''in roughing and tumbling it is allowable to peel the skull, tear out the eyes, and smooth away the nose'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for rough-and-tumble

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for rough

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for rough-and-tumble