Tough - definition, pronunciation, transcription

Amer.  |tʌf|  American pronunciation of the word tough
Brit.  |tʌf|  British pronunciation of the word tough


- someone who learned to fight in the streets rather than being formally trained in the sport of boxing
- an aggressive and violent young criminal (syn: goon, hood, hoodlum, punk, thug, toughie)
- a cruel and brutal fellow (syn: bully, hooligan, roughneck, rowdy, ruffian, yob, yobbo)


- very difficult; severely testing stamina or resolution (syn: rugged)
the competition was tough
it's a tough life
it was a tough job
- substantially made or constructed (syn: sturdy)
a tough all-weather fabric
some plastics are as tough as metal
- violent and lawless (syn: ruffianly)
tough street gangs
- feeling physical discomfort or pain (`tough' is occasionally used colloquially for `bad') (syn: bad)
he was feeling tough after a restless night
- unfortunate or hard to bear (syn: hard)
a tough break
- making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe (syn: baffling, elusive, knotty, problematic, problematical)

Extra examples

She had a tough time in college.

Are you tough enough for the job?

He's been hanging around with a bunch of tough guys.

The rug is made of tough material.

He talks tough but he's not really dangerous.

...didn't want her son hanging out with the neighborhood toughs...

He was what is called "a tough customer".

The water was sometimes tough and slimy.

They found it quite a tough task to accomplish.

It was pretty tough on her.

Don't talk so tough.

He sang tough.

It was a tough race.

She' s had a tough life.

The company admitted that it had been a tough year.

Word forms

singular: tough
plural: toughs
comparative: tougher
superlative: toughest
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