With the coup enacted, though, the response even among the toughs, at Rabaa at least, seemed one of apprehension.
Street battles between rival gangs of toughs are now reportedly raging in cities around the country.
Mavy's friends kept the toughs off, and I believe he'll sell out everything he has in his wagon.
toughs as they were, these two men fully appreciated the company they were in.
You say my paper isn't fit for aught but toughs and muckers?
Why, he wondered, didn't the Masters make the toughs sweep their own barracks?
We might even turn the toughs loose on them, without weapons.
But, even so, the Kid had proved that my theories about toughs were not rot.
Most of the respectable people were swept away by the flood, but nearly all the 'toughs' were left.
This is the man who hired a gang of toughs to raid our camps and steal our railroad.
Old English toh "difficult to break or chew," from Proto-Germanic *tankhuz (cf. Middle Low German tege, Middle Dutch taey, Dutch taai, Old High German zach, German zäh). See rough for spelling change.
Figurative sense of "strenuous, difficult, hard to beat" is first recorded c.1200; that of "hard to do, trying, laborious" is from 1610s. Verb tough it "endure the experience" is first recorded 1830, American English. Tough guy first recorded 1932. Tough-minded first recorded 1907 in William James. Tough luck first recorded 1912; tough shit is from 1946.
"street ruffian," 1866, American English, from tough (adj.).
A hard and menacing person (1866+)