tough

The adjective tough is good for describing hard times. If you just got mugged, lost your job, got the flu, and broke your toe, you're having a really tough week.

Tough means "strong, hard, unbending," and you can use it to describe many different things, like a tough exam, or a tough piece of beef jerky, or a tough day that you just want to be over. If a judge punishes criminals harshly to set examples, she's "tough on crime." We call people toughs if they seem likely to beat you up. Tough things are made to withstand a beating, like the tires on your mountain bike. Pronounce: TUFF.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: tough

1
adj
substantially made or constructed
2
adjn
violent and lawless
a cruel and brutal fellow
3
adj
very difficult; severely testing stamina or resolution
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: tough
1

adj substantially made or constructed

“a tough all-weather fabric”
“some plastics are as tough as metal”
Synonyms:
sturdy
rugged
sturdy and strong in constitution or construction; enduring

adj physically toughened

“the tough bottoms of his feet”
Synonyms:
toughened
rugged
sturdy and strong in constitution or construction; enduring
experienced, experient
having experience; having knowledge or skill from observation or participation
strong
having strength or power greater than average or expected
callous, calloused, thickened
having calluses; having skin made tough and thick through wear
enured, hardened, inured
made tough by habitual exposure
weather-beaten
tanned and coarsened from being outdoors
Antonyms:
tender, untoughened
physically untoughened
weak
wanting in physical strength
delicate, soft
easily hurt
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adj resistant to cutting or chewing

Synonyms
inedible, uneatable
not suitable for food
cartilaginous, gristly, rubbery
difficult to chew
chewy
requiring much chewing
coriaceous, leathered, leatherlike, leathery
resembling or made to resemble leather; tough but pliable
fibrous, sinewy, stringy, unchewable
(of meat) full of sinews; especially impossible to chew
fibrous, hempen
having or resembling fibers especially fibers used in making cordage such as those of jute
tough-skinned
having a relatively tough outer covering
Antonyms:
tender
easy to cut or chew
comestible, eatable, edible
suitable for use as food
chewable, cuttable
easy to cut or chew
crisp, crispy
tender and brittle
flakey, flaky
made of or easily forming flakes
tenderised, tenderized
made tender as by marinating or pounding
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2

adj violent and lawless

tough street gangs”
Synonyms:
ruffianly
violent
acting with or marked by or resulting from great force or energy or emotional intensity

adj not given to gentleness or sentimentality

“a tough character”
Synonyms
hard
dispassionate
insensitive
deficient in human sensibility; not mentally or morally sensitive
hard-bitten, hard-boiled, pugnacious
tough and callous by virtue of experience
tough-minded, unsentimental
facing facts or difficulties realistically and with determination
Antonyms:
tender
given to sympathy or gentleness or sentimentality
soft
compassionate and kind; conciliatory
protective
showing care
sentimental
given to or marked by sentiment or sentimentality
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n a cruel and brutal fellow

Synonyms:
bully, hooligan, roughneck, rowdy, ruffian, yob, yobbo, yobo
Types:
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bullyboy
a swaggering tough; usually one acting as an agent of a political faction
muscle, muscleman
a bully employed as a thug or bodyguard
skinhead
a young person who belongs to a British or American group that shave their heads and gather at rock concerts or engage in white supremacist demonstrations
plug-ugly, tough guy
someone who bullies weaker people
Ted, Teddy boy
a tough youth of 1950's and 1960's wearing Edwardian style clothes
Type of:
aggressor, assailant, assaulter, attacker
someone who attacks

n an aggressive and violent young criminal

Synonyms:
goon, hood, hoodlum, punk, strong-armer, thug, toughie
Types:
bully
a hired thug
Type of:
criminal, crook, felon, malefactor, outlaw
someone who has committed a crime or has been legally convicted of a crime

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

Synonyms:
street fighter
Type of:
battler, belligerent, combatant, fighter, scrapper
someone who fights (or is fighting)
3

adj very difficult; severely testing stamina or resolution

“the competition was tough
“it's a tough life”
“it was a tough job”
Synonyms:
rugged
difficult, hard
not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure

adj unfortunate or hard to bear

“a tough break”
Synonyms:
hard
bad
having undesirable or negative qualities

adj making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe

Synonyms:
baffling, elusive, knotty, problematic, problematical
difficult, hard
not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure

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

“he was feeling tough after a restless night”
Synonyms:
bad
uncomfortable
providing or experiencing physical discomfort
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