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tough definition

Overview

This page has 14 definitions of tough in English, German, and Middle English. Tough is an adjective, interjection, noun and verb. Examples of how to use tough in a sentence are shown. Also define these 21 related words and terms: strong, resilient, sturdy, difficult, cut, chew, rugged, physically, hardy, stubborn, harsh, severe, rowdy, rough, demanding, thug, bully, endure, toughen, taff, and tow.

English tough definition

Etymology

From Middle English tough, towgh, tou, toȝ, from Old English tōh (tough, tenacious, holding fast together; pliant; sticky, glutinous, clammy), from Proto-West Germanic *tą̄h(ī), from Proto-Germanic *tanhuz (fitting; clinging; tenacious; tough), from Proto-Indo-European *denḱ- (to bite).

Pronunciation

Adjective

tough (comparative tougher, superlative toughest)

  1. Strong and resilient; sturdy.
    The tent, made of tough canvas, held up to many abuses.
    • Resilient definition
      Returning quickly to original shape after force is applied; elastic.
      1. Having the ability to absorb energy when deformed.
      (1 of 4 resilient definitions)
  2. (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. Stubborn.
    He had a reputation as a tough negotiator.
  5. (of weather etc) Harsh or severe.
  6. Rowdy or rough.
    A bunch of the tough boys from the wrong side of the tracks threatened him.
  7. (of questions, etc.) Difficult or demanding.
    This is a tough crowd.
  8. (material science) Undergoing plastic deformation before breaking.

Derived terms

Terms derived from tough (adjective)

Translations

Interjection

tough

  1. (slang) Used to indicate lack of sympathy
    If you don't like it, tough!

Translations

Noun

tough (plural toughs)

  1. A person who obtains things by force; a thug or bully.
    They were doing fine until they encountered a bunch of toughs from the opposition.
    • 2018, Sandeep Jauhar, Heart: a History, →ISBN, page 54:
      He was in his early fifties, extensively tattooed, just the sort of tough I wouldn't want to meet alone in a parking lot at night, but right then he was whimpering.
    • Bully definition
      A person who is intentionally physically or emotionally cruel to others, especially to those who are weaker or have less power or privilege. (1 of 13 bully definitions)

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb

tough (third-person singular simple present toughs, present participle toughing, simple past and past participle toughed)

  1. To endure.
    • 2009, Paul Walsh, You and I and Others, →ISBN, page 64 - 65:
      We shall reminisce on how we toughed it through the winters as they reached the firm, long arm around to give the cold embrace, with ardor seldom loosed till warm winds Marched or Apriled in to soften winter's knuckles -- send rivulets of courage down to dandelions and tulips.
    • 2011, Henry David Thoreau, Damion Searls, The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837-1861, →ISBN, page 254:
      “No,” said Minott, “I've toughed it through the winter, and i want to stay and hear the bluebirds once more.
    • 2012, Jerry Hopkins -, Extreme Cuisine: The Weird and Wonderful Foods That People Eat, →ISBN:
      Universal Plant Edibility Test The following sounds like a lot of work—it is!—but that's because it comes from the US Army Survival Manual as republished in 1994 as "a civilian's best guide for toughing it, anyplace in the world...a must for campers, hikers, explorers, pilots, and others whose vocation or avocations require familiarity with the wilderness or out-of-doors..."
  2. To toughen.

Derived terms

Translations

Anagrams


German tough definition

Etymology

From English tough; see also German taff.

Pronunciation

Adjective

tough (comparative tougher, superlative am toughsten or am toughesten)

  1. (slang) Alternative form of taff (tough; robust; assertive and not overly sensitive)

Declension

declension with am toughsten
declension with am toughesten

Further reading

  • tough” in Duden online

Middle English tough definition

Noun

tough

  1. Alternative form of tow