[ noun ruhf-hous; verb ruhf-hous, -houz ]
/ noun ˈrʌfˌhaʊs; verb ˈrʌfˌhaʊs, -ˌhaʊz /

noun, plural rough·hous·es [ruhf-hou-ziz] /ˈrʌfˌhaʊ zɪz/.

rough, disorderly playing, especially indoors.

verb (used without object), rough·housed [ruhf-houst, -houzd] /ˈrʌfˌhaʊst, -ˌhaʊzd/, rough·hous·ing [ruhf-hou-sing, -zing] /ˈrʌfˌhaʊ sɪŋ, -zɪŋ/.

to engage in rough, disorderly play.

verb (used with object), rough·housed [ruhf-houst, -houzd] /ˈrʌfˌhaʊst, -ˌhaʊzd/, rough·hous·ing [ruhf-hou-sing, -zing] /ˈrʌfˌhaʊ sɪŋ, -zɪŋ/.

to handle roughly but with playful intent: to roughhouse the cat.

Nearby words

  1. roughage,
  2. roughback,
  3. roughcast,
  4. roughen,
  5. rougher,
  6. roughie,
  7. roughing mill,
  8. roughing-in,
  9. roughish,
  10. roughly

Origin of roughhouse

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90; rough + house Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rough-house

British Dictionary definitions for rough-house


/ (ˈrʌfˌhaʊs) slang /


rough, disorderly, or noisy behaviour


to treat (someone) in a boisterous or rough way
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

Word Origin and History for rough-house



1887, "uproar, disturbance," from rough (adj.) + house (n.). The verb is first attested 1896. Related: Rough-housing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper