[ ruhf ]
See synonyms for: roughroughedrougherroughest on

adjective,rough·er, rough·est.
  1. having a coarse or uneven surface, as from projections, irregularities, or breaks; not smooth: rough, red hands;a rough road.

  2. shaggy or coarse: a dog with a rough coat.

  1. (of an uninhabited region or large land area) steep or uneven and covered with high grass, brush, trees, stones, etc.: to hunt over rough country.

  2. acting with or characterized by violence: Boxing is a rough sport.

  3. characterized by unnecessary violence or infractions of the rules: It was a rough prize fight.

  4. violently disturbed or agitated; turbulent, as water or the air: a rough sea.

  5. having a violently irregular motion; uncomfortably or dangerously uneven: The plane had a rough flight in the storm.

  6. stormy or tempestuous, as wind or weather.

  7. sharp or harsh: a rough temper.

  8. unmannerly or rude: his rough and churlish manner;They exchanged rough words.

  9. disorderly or riotous: a rough mob.

  10. difficult or unpleasant: to have a rough time of it.

  11. harsh to the ear; grating or jarring, as sounds.

  12. harsh to the taste; sharp or astringent: a rough wine.

  13. coarse, as food.

  14. lacking culture or refinement: a rough, countrified manner.

  15. without refinements, luxuries, or ordinary comforts or conveniences: rough camping.

  16. requiring exertion or strength rather than intelligence or skill: rough manual labor.

  17. not elaborated, perfected, or corrected; unpolished, as language, verse, or style: a rough draft.

  18. made or done without any attempt at exactness, completeness, or thoroughness; approximate or tentative: a rough guess.

  19. crude, unwrought, nonprocessed, or unprepared: rough rice.

  20. Phonetics. uttered with aspiration; having the sound of h; aspirated.

  1. something that is rough, especially rough ground.

  2. Golf. any part of the course bordering the fairway on which the grass, weeds, etc., are not trimmed.

  1. the unpleasant or difficult part of anything.

  2. anything in its crude or preliminary form, as a drawing.

  3. Chiefly British. a rowdy; ruffian.

  1. in a rough manner; roughly.

verb (used with object),roughed, rough·ing.
  1. to make rough; roughen.

  2. to give a beating to, manhandle, or subject to physical violence (often followed by up): The mob roughed up the speaker.

  1. to subject to some rough, preliminary process of working or preparation (often followed by down, off, or out): to rough off boards.

  2. to sketch roughly or in outline (often followed by in or out): to rough out a diagram;to rough in the conversation of a novel.

  3. Sports. to subject (a player on the opposing team) to unnecessary physical abuse, as in blocking or tackling: The team was penalized 15 yards for roughing the kicker.

verb (used without object),roughed, rough·ing.
  1. to become rough, as a surface.

  2. to behave roughly.

Idioms about rough

  1. in the rough, in a rough, crude, or unfinished state: The country has an exciting potential, but civilization there is still in the rough.

  2. rough it, to live without the customary comforts or conveniences; endure rugged conditions: We really roughed it on our fishing trip.

Origin of rough

First recorded before 1000; Middle English (adjective and noun); Old English rūh (adjective); cognate with Dutch ruig, German rauh

Other words for rough

Opposites for rough

Other words from rough

  • roughly, adverb
  • roughness, noun
  • o·ver·rough, adjective
  • o·ver·rough·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·rough·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with rough Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use rough in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rough


/ (rʌf) /

  1. (of a surface) not smooth; uneven or irregular

  2. (of ground) covered with scrub, boulders, etc

  1. denoting or taking place on uncultivated ground: rough grazing; rough shooting

  2. shaggy or hairy

  3. turbulent; agitated: a rough sea

  4. (of the performance or motion of something) uneven; irregular: a rough engine

  5. (of behaviour or character) rude, coarse, ill mannered, inconsiderate, or violent

  6. harsh or sharp: rough words

  7. informal severe or unpleasant: a rough lesson

  8. (of work, a task, etc) requiring physical rather than mental effort

  9. informal ill or physically upset: he felt rough after an evening of heavy drinking

  10. unfair or unjust: rough luck

  11. harsh or grating to the ear

  12. harsh to the taste

  13. without refinement, luxury, etc

  14. not polished or perfected in any detail; rudimentary; not elaborate: rough workmanship; rough justice

  15. not prepared or dressed: rough gemstones

  16. (of a guess, estimate, etc) approximate

  17. Australian informal (of a chance) not good

  18. having the sound of h; aspirated

  19. rough on informal, mainly British

    • severe towards

    • unfortunate for (a person)

  20. the rough side of one's tongue harsh words; a reprimand, rebuke, or verbal attack

  1. rough ground

  2. a sketch or preliminary piece of artwork

  1. an unfinished or crude state (esp in the phrase in the rough)

  2. the rough golf the part of the course bordering the fairways where the grass is untrimmed

  3. tennis squash badminton the side of a racket on which the binding strings form an uneven line

  4. informal a rough or violent person; thug

  5. the unpleasant side of something (esp in the phrase take the rough with the smooth)

  1. in a rough manner; roughly

  2. sleep rough to spend the night in the open; be without a home or without shelter

  1. (tr) to make rough; roughen

  2. (tr ; foll by out, in, etc) to prepare (a sketch, report, piece of work, etc) in preliminary form

  1. rough it informal to live without the usual comforts or conveniences of life

Origin of rough

Old English rūh; related to Old Norse ruksa, Middle Dutch rūge, rūwe, German rauh

Derived forms of rough

  • roughness, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with rough


In addition to the idioms beginning with rough

  • rough and ready
  • rough and tumble
  • rough it
  • rough on, be
  • rough out
  • rough up

also see:

  • diamond in the rough
  • ride roughshod over
  • take the rough with the smooth
  • when the going gets rough

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