tough love



a mixture of toughness and warmth used in a relationship, especially with an adolescent.

Origin of tough love

First recorded in 1977; after Toughlove, a network of support groups Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tough love

Contemporary Examples of tough love

  • She maintains the tough-love attitude of a pioneer, when it comes to her protégés.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Surf Girls: The Next Wave

    Nicole LaPorte

    August 30, 2009

  • But they see themselves as something of a tough-love organization.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Family of Hate

    John Avlon

    July 23, 2009

British Dictionary definitions for tough love

tough love


the practice of taking a stern attitude towards a relative or friend suffering from an addiction, etc, to help the addict overcome the problem
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