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tough (tŭf)
Share:
adj. tough·er, tough·est
1. Able to withstand great strain without tearing or breaking; strong and resilient: a tough all-weather fabric.
2. Hard to cut or chew: tough meat.
3.
a. Physically hardy; rugged: tough mountaineers; a tough cop.
b. Strong-minded; resolute: a tough negotiator.
4.
a. Aggressive; pugnacious.
b. Inclined to violent or disruptive behavior; rowdy or rough: a tough street group.
5.
a. Difficult to endure; severe; harsh: a tough winter.
b. Trying or unpleasant: had a tough day.
c. Difficult to deal with; demanding or troubling: It's tough to go to school and work a full-time job. The exam had many tough questions.
d. Informal Unfortunate; too bad: It was a tough break to get sick on the day of the concert.
6. Slang Fine; great.
n.
A violent or rowdy person; a hoodlum or thug.
Idioms:
that's tough
Used to indicate recalcitrance or noncompliance with a complaint or demand.
tough it out Slang
To get through despite hardship; endure: "It helps if one was raised to tough it out" (Gail Sheehy).

[Middle English, from Old English tōh.]

toughly adv.
toughness n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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