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[ruhf-uh n]
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to make or become rough or rougher.
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Origin of roughen

First recorded in 1580–90; rough + -en1
Related formsrough·en·er, nounun·rough·ened, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for roughen

Historical Examples

  • Ma must not roughen her hands or the silks she worked with would be spoiled.

    Carl and the Cotton Gin

    Sara Ware Bassett

  • Do not use a knife in removing the paper, as it is liable to roughen the wood.

    The Boy Craftsman

    A. Neely Hall

  • "And love has wings," he said, twisting his face comically to roughen the words.


    Emily Hilda Young

  • Do not use a knife in removing the paper, as it is likely to roughen the wood.

  • If we roughen a corn stalk with sand-paper we may sharpen a knife upon it.

British Dictionary definitions for roughen


  1. to make or become rough
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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 roughen


1580s, from rough (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Roughened; roughening.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper