Do without the usual comforts and conveniences, as in We spent our vacation roughing it in a log cabin. This idiom was first recorded in 1768. Mark Twain used it as the title of an account of his experiences in Nevada (Roughing It, 1872).
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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.