tough break

Also, tough luck. A trying or troublesome circumstance, bad luck, as in He got a tough break when he was denied a raise, or Tough luck for the team last night. This idiom uses tough in the sense of “difficult,” a usage dating from the early 1600s. The variant is also used as a sarcastic interjection, as in So you didn't make straight A's—tough luck! A slangy variant of this interjection is tough beans, and a ruder version is tough shit. [Colloquial; c. 1900]

Words Nearby tough break

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

How to use tough break in a sentence

  • "Well, that certainly is one tough break for a poor little girl," Brandon sympathized.

    Spacehounds of IPC | Edward Elmer Smith
  • It's a tough break, kid, but the sooner you forget her the better.

    The Chameleon Man | William P. McGivern
  • And the tough break is the both of them lives on the same block.

    The Boy Grew Older | Heywood Broun
  • "That's the kind of tough break we get in our kind of job," Agent Carter said, and made a flip wave with his hand.

    Dave Dawson at Casablanca | Robert Sydney Bowen
  • This would be a lucky night for the Jerries, and a tough break for the folks crouching in the darkened streets.

    A Yankee Flier with the R.A.F. | Rutherford G. Montgomery