adjective, tough·er, tough·est.
Origin of tough
Synonyms for tough
Antonyms for tough
Examples from the Web for tough
Contemporary Examples of tough
His flesh is sagging a bit, but he is still trim and looks lean, sinewy and tough.
“You ask me my motivation,” Marvin says, moving back into his tough guy persona again.
After a bunch of tough talk, this round of the hacker-on-hacker fight nevered materialized.The Attack on the Hidden Internet
December 29, 2014
But it certainly contributed, and purposely so, to the defeat of the tough Likud hardliner Yitzhak Shamir in 1992.The Inside Story of U.S. Meddling in Israel’s Elections
Aaron David Miller
December 4, 2014
It was tough for a while, but I knew who I was, so I stayed true to it.Exclusive: Michael Phelps’s Intersex Self-Proclaimed Girlfriend, Taylor Lianne Chandler, Tells All
November 26, 2014
Historical Examples of tough
He was tough, but the ranch horses of John Merchant came out from a night of rest.Way of the Lawless
If the mushrooms are found to be tough, the skin should be peeled off.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
Even when they did pick out novels, they were just as tough as the history books.In the Midst of Alarms
This game's too tough fer me—I'll ship me plugs to Gravesend.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
There he met two other tough ones like himself,—Duroc and Junot.The Boy Life of Napoleon
Word Origin for tough
Old English toh "difficult to break or chew," from Proto-Germanic *tankhuz (cf. Middle Low German tege, Middle Dutch taey, Dutch taai, Old High German zach, German zäh). See rough for spelling change.
Figurative sense of "strenuous, difficult, hard to beat" is first recorded c.1200; that of "hard to do, trying, laborious" is from 1610s. Verb tough it "endure the experience" is first recorded 1830, American English. Tough guy first recorded 1932. Tough-minded first recorded 1907 in William James. Tough luck first recorded 1912; tough shit is from 1946.
"street ruffian," 1866, American English, from tough (adj.).
In addition to the idioms beginning with tough
- tough break
- tough it out
- tough nut
- tough row to hoe
- tough sledding
- get tough
- gut (tough) it out
- hang tough
- hard (tough) act to follow
- hard (tough) nut to crack