(noun, adjective, verb, interjection)


1. not given to gentleness or sentimentality

- a tough character

Similar word(s): hard, insensitive, unsentimental

2. very difficult; severely testing stamina or resolution

- the competition was tough

- it's a tough life

- it was a tough job

Similar word(s): difficult, hard, rugged

3. physically toughened

- the tough bottoms of his feet

Similar word(s): rugged, experienced, experient, strong, callous, calloused, thickened, enured, hardened, inured, toughened

4. substantially made or constructed

- a tough all-weather fabric

- some plastics are as tough as metal

Similar word(s): rugged, sturdy

5. violent and lawless

- tough street gangs

Similar word(s): violent, ruffianly

6. feeling physical discomfort or pain (`tough' is occasionally used colloquially for `bad')

- he was feeling tough after a restless night

Similar word(s): uncomfortable, bad

7. resistant to cutting or chewing

Similar word(s): inedible, uneatable, cartilaginous, gristly, rubbery, chewy, coriaceous, leathered, leatherlike, leathery, fibrous, sinewy, stringy, unchewable, hempen

8. unfortunate or hard to bear

- a tough break

Similar word(s): bad, hard

9. making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe

Similar word(s): difficult, hard, baffling, elusive, knotty, problematic, problematical

Sentences with tough as an adjective:

- The tent, made of tough canvas, held up to many abuses.

- To soften a tough cut of meat, the recipe suggested simmering it for hours.

- Only a tough species will survive in the desert.

- He had a reputation as a tough negotiator.

- A bunch of the tough boys from the wrong side of the tracks threatened him.

- This is a tough crowd.


1. (slang) Used to indicate lack of sympathy

- If you don't like it, tough!


1. someone who learned to fight in the streets rather than being formally trained in the sport of boxing

Definition categories: person, battler, belligerent, combatant, fighter, scrapper

2. an aggressive and violent young criminal

Similar word(s): goon, hood, hoodlum, punk, thug, toughie

Definition categories: person, criminal, crook, felon, malefactor, outlaw

3. a cruel and brutal fellow

Similar word(s): bully, hooligan, roughneck, rowdy, ruffian, yob, yobbo, yobo

Definition categories: person, aggressor, assailant, assaulter, attacker

Sentences with tough as a noun:

- They were doing fine until they encountered a bunch of toughs from the opposition.


1. To endure.

2. To toughen.