[noun ruhf-hous; verb ruhf-hous, -houz]

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.

Origin of roughhouse

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

Related Words for roughhouse

horseplay, rowdiness

Examples from the Web for roughhouse

Historical Examples of roughhouse

  • What a, as one might say, roughhouse might it not—er—precipitate!

    It Pays to Smile

    Nina Wilcox Putnam

  • Now it's sure this blond party's deal, and we better reckon ahead a mite before we start any roughhouse with her.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • There were gangs of good-natured rowdies, and there were roughhouse communities in pioneer days.

  • I didnt want the boys riding over there and starting a roughhouse at the Tin Can Saloon.

    The Heart of Canyon Pass

    Thomas K. Holmes

  • She don't seem nervous or panicky at all, like most women would, breakin' in on a roughhouse scene like that.

British Dictionary definitions for roughhouse



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