AskDefine | Define tough

Dictionary Definition

tough adj
1 not given to gentleness or sentimentality; "a tough character" [ant: tender]
2 very difficult; severely testing stamina or resolution; "a rugged competitive examination"; "the rugged conditions of frontier life"; "the competition was tough"; "it's a tough life"; "it was a tough job" [syn: rugged]
3 physically toughened; "the tough bottoms of his feet" [syn: toughened] [ant: tender]
4 substantially made or constructed; "sturdy steel shelves"; "sturdy canvas"; "a tough all-weather fabric"; "some plastics are as tough as metal" [syn: sturdy]
5 violent and lawless; "the more ruffianly element"; "tough street gangs" [syn: ruffianly]
6 feeling physical discomfort or pain (`tough' is occasionally used colloquially for `bad'); "my throat feels bad"; "she felt bad all over"; "he was feeling tough after a restless night" [syn: bad]
7 tough to cut or chew [ant: tender]
8 unfortunate or hard to bear; "had hard luck"; "a tough break" [syn: hard]


1 someone who learned to fight in the streets rather than being formally trained in the sport of boxing [syn: street fighter]
2 an aggressive and violent young criminal [syn: hood, hoodlum, goon, punk, thug, toughie, strong-armer]
3 a cruel and brutal fellow [syn: bully, hooligan, ruffian, roughneck, rowdy, yob, yobo, yobbo]

User Contributed Dictionary






en-adj er
  1. strong and resilient; sturdy
    The tent, made of tough canvas, held up to many abuses.
  2. In the context of "of food": difficult to cut or chew
    To soften a tough cut of meat, the recipe suggested simmering it for hours.
  3. rugged or physically hardy
    Only a tough species will survive in the desert.
  4. In the context of "of weather etc": harsh or severe
  5. rowdy or rough
    A bunch of the tough boys from the wrong side of the tracks threatened him.
  6. In the context of "of questions etc": difficult or demanding
    This is a tough crowd.
  7. too bad!
    If you don't like it, tough!
  8. (material science) Undergoing plastic deformation before breaking. See also toughness.


  1. A person who obtains things by force; a thug or bully.
  2. Someone who exhibits courage and defience during a conflict. This is usually one of violence or potential violence.
    They were doing fine until they encountered a bunch of toughs from the opposition.


Derived terms

tough call

Extensive Definition

Tough may refer to:

See also

  • Toughness, the resistance to fracture of a material when stressed
  • Machismo, prominently exhibited or excessive masculinity

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Antaeus, Atlas, Briareus, Brobdingnagian, Charles Atlas, Cyclops, Goliath, Herculean, Hercules, Mafioso, OK, Polyphemus, Samson, Spartan, Spartanic, Superman, Tarzan, Titan, Young Turk, abiding, abstruse, ace-high, acute, adamant, adamantine, adherent, adhesive, age-long, aged, amylaceous, ancient, antique, arbitrary, arduous, astringent, athletic, austere, authoritarian, backbreaking, bad, baffling, bang-up, battler, beast, beldam, belligerent, belted knight, berserk, berserker, beyond one, bickerer, blade, bomber, bony, bonzer, boss, bravo, brawler, brawny, bruiser, brutal, brute, bulky, bulldogged, bulldoggish, bulldoggy, bullheaded, bully, bullyboy, burdensome, burly, but good, callous, cartilaginous, cement, cemental, chewy, chronic, clabbered, clammy, clingy, clotted, coagulated, cohesive, cold, colossus, combatant, competitor, complex, complicated, concrete, confirmed, constant, contender, contestant, continuing, cool, coriaceous, corking, corneous, crabbed, crackerjack, cramp, critical, crushing, curdled, cutting, dandy, delicate, delicious, demanding, demon, dense, devil, diamondlike, difficile, difficult, disputant, diuturnal, doughty, doughy, dour, dragon, drastic, ducky, duelist, durable, dure, effortful, enduring, enforcer, evergreen, exacting, excessive, exigent, exorbitant, extravagant, extreme, fab, fencer, feuder, fibrous, fiend, fierce, fighter, fighting cock, fine and dandy, fire-eater, firebrand, firm, fixed, flintlike, flinty, foilsman, forced, formidable, furious, fury, game, gamecock, gamy, garbled, gaumy, gear, gelatinous, giant, gladiator, glairy, gluelike, gluey, glutenous, glutinose, glutinous, gooey, goon, gorilla, granitelike, granitic, great, grim, gristly, gritty, groovy, grueling, grumous, gumbo, gumbolike, gumlike, gummous, gummy, gun, gunsel, gutsy, gutty, hairy, hard, hard as nails, hard to understand, hard-bitten, hard-boiled, hard-earned, hard-fought, hard-line, hard-nosed, hard-set, hardened, hardhearted, hardnose, hardy, harsh, hatchet man, heavy, hefty, hell-raiser, hellcat, hellhound, hellion, holy terror, hood, hoodlum, hooligan, horny, hot, hothead, hotspur, hunky-dory, icy, immoderate, immutable, incendiary, inflexible, inspissated, intemperate, intense, intractable, intransient, intrepid, intricate, inured, inveterate, irksome, iron-hard, ironlike, jam-up, jawbreaking, jelled, jellied, jellylike, jouster, jumbled, just dandy, keen, killer, killing, knight, knotted, knotty, labored, laborious, lapideous, lasting, leatherlike, leathery, lithoid, lithoidal, long-lasting, long-lived, long-standing, long-term, longeval, longevous, macrobiotic, mad dog, madcap, manly, marble, marblelike, marvy, massive, mean, meticulous, mettlesome, militant, monster, mucilaginous, mucker, mug, mugger, muscle man, muscular, mystifying, narrow, neat, nervy, nifty, no picnic, nobby, not easy, obdurate, obfuscated, obscure, obscured, obstinate, of long duration, of long standing, okay, onerous, operose, oppressive, osseous, out of sight, outrageous, overtechnical, painful, pasty, peachy, peachy-keen, perdurable, perduring, perennial, permanent, perpetual, perplexed, perplexing, persistent, persisting, pertinacious, piercing, plucky, plug-ugly, powerful, powerhouse, procrustean, punishing, punk, puzzling, quarreler, rapist, red-blooded, refractory, remaining, resistant, resistive, resolute, revolutionary, rigid, rigorous, rioter, ripping, rival, rocklike, rocky, rodman, ropy, rough, roughneck, rowdy, ruffian, rugged, rum, sabreur, savage, scrambled, scrapper, scrumptious, scuffler, self-adhesive, sempervirent, set with thorns, severe, sharp, she-wolf, sinewy, slabby, slap-up, slimy, slithery, smashing, solid, something else, sound, spiffing, spiffy, spiny, spirited, spiritful, spitfire, splitting, spunky, squabbler, stable, stalwart, starchy, staying, steadfast, steady, steellike, steely, steep, stern, stickable, sticky, stiff, stodgy, stonelike, stony, stout, strained, strapping, strenuous, strict, stringent, stringy, strong, strong arm, strong man, strong-arm man, strong-armer, struggler, stubborn, stunning, sturdy, substantial, swashbuckler, swell, sword, swordplayer, swordsman, syrupy, tacky, taut, taxing, tenacious, termagant, terror, terrorist, the mighty, the strong, thick, thickened, thorny, thug, ticklish, tiger, tigress, tilter, toilsome, torpedo, tough as leather, tough guy, tower of strength, tremelloid, tremellose, tricky, trigger man, troublesome, tussler, ugly customer, unalterable, unbending, unbreakable, uncaring, uncompromising, unconscionable, underprivileged, unfading, unfeeling, ungiving, unsentimental, unsparing, unsympathetic, untiring, unyielding, uphill, vehement, venomous, vigorous, violent, virago, virile, virulent, viscid, viscose, viscous, vital, vixen, wearisome, well-built, well-constructed, well-founded, well-grounded, well-made, wicked, wild beast, wiry, witch, withstanding, wizard, wolf, wrangler, yahoo
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