strong and durable; not easily broken or cut.
not brittle or tender.
difficult to masticate, as food: a tough steak.
of viscous consistency, as liquid or semiliquid matter: tough molasses.
capable of great endurance; sturdy; hardy: tough troops.
not easily influenced, as a person; unyielding; stubborn: a tough man to work for.
hardened; incorrigible: a tough criminal.
difficult to perform, accomplish, or deal with; hard, trying, or troublesome: a tough problem.
hard to bear or endure (often used ironically): tough luck.
vigorous; severe; violent: a tough struggle.
vicious; rough; rowdyish: a tough character;a tough neighborhood.
practical, realistic, and lacking in sentimentality; tough-minded.
Slang. remarkably excellent; first-rate; great.
in a tough manner.
a ruffian; rowdy.
Idioms about tough
hang tough, Slang. hang (def. 62).
tough it out, Informal. to endure or resist hardship or adversity.
- toughly, adverb
- toughness, noun
- su·per·tough, adjective
- un·tough, adjective
- un·tough·ly, adverb
- un·tough·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use tough in a sentence
“The closer we get to ‘16, the tougher it’s going to be, so I hope we start quickly,” he said.Can This Republican Bring the GOP Back to Its Senses on Immigration? | Tim Mak | December 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Have a kid here –what some pejoratively refer to as an “anchor baby” – and it is tougher to be deported.The Progressive Case Against Birthright Citizenship | Keli Goff | December 15, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Tougher regulations on tank cars and oil-by-rail make sense.
The good doctor gave as good as he got in one of the tougher interview environments around.
Political pressure was mounting tonight from veteran Conservative politicians on Cameron to take much tougher action against IS.Will The Latest ISIS Beheading Move Britain To Tougher Action? | Jamie Dettmer | September 14, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But our forebears were composed of less delicate nerves and tougher thews and sinews than ourselves.The Portsmouth Road and Its Tributaries | Charles G. Harper
Mrs Mason worked away as hard as any of them; but she was older and tougher; and, besides, the gains were hers.Ruth | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
In metal bridges wrought iron has been replaced by mild steel—a stronger, tougher and better material.
But in none of his stories did Alger ever portray a tougher background or give it a bigger skyrocket finish.David Lannarck, Midget | George S. Harney
You look tougher than ever, and here am I growing palpably old.Paul Patoff | F. Marion Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for tough
strong or resilient; durable: a tough material
not tender: he could not eat the tough steak
having a great capacity for endurance; hardy and fit: a tough mountaineer
rough or pugnacious: a tough gangster
resolute or intractable: a tough employer
difficult or troublesome to do or deal with: a tough problem
informal unfortunate or unlucky: it's tough on him
a rough, vicious, or pugnacious person
informal violently, aggressively, or intractably: to treat someone tough
hang tough informal to be or appear to be strong or determined
(tr) slang to stand firm, hold out against (a difficulty or difficult situation) (esp in tough it out)
- toughish, adjective
- toughly, adverb
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 tough
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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.