rough on, be


1

Be harmful to or difficult for, as in The harsh winter has been rough on the highways, or Their divorce was rough on the whole family.

2

Treat harshly, be severe with, as in The police have been very rough on house-breakers, or Don't be too rough on Sam; he's only a child. Both colloquial usages date from the second half of the 1800s.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.