Rough means harsh and uneven. If you want to go driving in the rough terrain of rocky dirt roads, you'll need four-wheel drive and a stomach for bouncing.

Rough means coarse or bumpy, and can be used in many different ways. A few days after you shave, your skin will be rough with stubble. Rough seas are choppy and turbulent, and might make you seasick. On a rough day, lots of things go wrong. A rough person (who could be called "a rough") tends to get into fights. Someone raised on a farm in the mountains could be described as having a rough and rugged life.

Definitions of rough
  1. adjective
    having or caused by an irregular surface
    “trees with rough bark”
    rough ground”
    rough skin”
    rough blankets”
    synonyms: unsmooth
    not even or uniform as e.g. in shape or texture
    unironed, wrinkled
    (of linens or clothes) not ironed
    not carefully reworked or perfected or made smooth by polishing
    contrary to rule or accepted order or general practice
    coarse, harsh
    of textures that are rough to the touch or substances consisting of relatively large particles
    not slippery; not likely to slip or skid
    abrasive, scratchy
    causing abrasion
    alligatored, cracked
    of paint or varnish; having the appearance of alligator hide
    resembling the rough bark of a tree
    broken, rugged
    topographically very uneven
    of leaves; appearing puckered as if blistered
    covered with or full of bumps
    chapped, cracked, roughened
    used of skin roughened as a result of cold or exposure
    corded, twilled
    of textiles; having parallel raised lines
    costate, ribbed
    (of the surface) having a rough, riblike texture
    cragged, craggy, hilly, mountainous
    having hills and crags
    treated so as to have a permanently wrinkled appearance
    homespun, nubbly, nubby, slubbed, tweedy
    of textiles; having a rough surface
    imbricate, imbricated
    used especially of leaves or bracts; overlapping or layered as scales or shingles
    lepidote, leprose, scabrous, scaly, scurfy
    rough to the touch; covered with scales or scurf
    covered with tiny scales
    lined, seamed
    (used especially of skin) marked by lines or seams
    pocked, pockmarked, potholed
    used of paved surfaces having holes or pits
    rock-ribbed, rockbound
    abounding in or bordered by rocky cliffs or scarps
    bouldered, bouldery, rocky, stony
    abounding in rocks or stones
    gravelly, pebbly, shingly
    abounding in small stones
    somewhat rough
    of leaves; ridged or wrinkled
    having the abrasive texture of sandpaper
    having rough edges that can be used for sawing
    covered with scabs
    shagged, shaggy
    having a very rough nap or covered with hanging shags
    coarse-textured, rough-textured, textured
    having surface roughness
    verrucose, wartlike, warty
    (of skin) covered with warts or projections that resemble warts
    see moresee less
    having a surface free from roughness or bumps or ridges or irregularities
    being level or straight or regular and without variation as e.g. in shape or texture; or being in the same plane or at the same height as something else (i.e. even with)
    (of linens or clothes) smoothed with a hot iron
    of textures that are smooth to the touch or substances consisting of relatively small particles
    slippery, slippy
    causing or tending to cause things to slip or slide
    creaseless, uncreased
    used especially of fabrics
    having an even texture
    (of surfaces) conducive to rapid speeds
    fine-textured, smooth-textured
    having a smooth, fine-grained structure
    resembling glass in smoothness and shininess and slickness
    seamless, unlined, unseamed
    smooth, especially of skin
    aerodynamic, flowing, sleek, streamlined
    designed or arranged to offer the least resistant to fluid flow
    velvet, velvet-textured, velvety
    smooth and soft to sight or hearing or touch or taste
    show more antonyms...
  2. adjective
    of the margin of a leaf shape; having the edge cut or fringed or scalloped
    simple, unsubdivided
    (botany) of leaf shapes; of leaves having no divisions or subdivisions
    composed of more than one part
    having toothlike projections that are themselves toothed
    having saw-like notches with the notches themselves similarly notched
    ciliate, ciliated
    having a margin or fringe of hairlike projections
    crenate, crenated, scalloped
    having a margin with rounded scallops
    crenulate, crenulated
    having a margin with small rounded teeth
    wavy or notched and curled very irregularly
    having toothlike projections in the margin
    having a very finely toothed margin
    having a notched tip
    erose, jagged, jaggy, notched, toothed
    having an irregularly notched or toothed margin as though gnawed
    having a fringe of slender processes
    fringed, laciniate
    having edges irregularly and finely slashed
    lacerate, lacerated
    irregularly slashed and jagged as if torn
    like a comb
    having a surface covered with a network of cracks and small crevices
    having incised margins with the lobes or teeth pointing toward the base; as dandelion leaves
    notched, saw-toothed, serrate, serrated, toothed
    notched like a saw with teeth pointing toward the apex
    minutely serrated
    having spines
    see moresee less
    of the margin of a leaf shape; not broken up into teeth
    simple, unsubdivided
    (botany) of leaf shapes; of leaves having no divisions or subdivisions
    composed of more than one part
    (of leaves or petals) having a smooth edge; not broken up into teeth or lobes
    having a slightly undulating margin
    having a strongly waved margin alternately concave and convex
    having a wavy margin and rippled surface
    unnotched, untoothed
    having no notches
    show more antonyms...
  3. adjective
    violently agitated and turbulent
    rough weather”
    rough seas”
    synonyms: boisterous, fierce
    (especially of weather) affected or characterized by storms or commotion
  4. adjective
    causing or characterized by jolts and irregular movements
    “a rough ride”
    synonyms: bumpy, jolting, jolty, jumpy, rocky
    see moresee less
    of motion that runs or flows or proceeds without jolts or turbulence
  5. adverb
    with rough motion as over a rough surface
    “ride rough
    synonyms: roughly
  6. adjective
    (of persons or behavior) lacking refinement or finesse
    “she was a diamond in the rough
    rough manners”
    (used of persons and their behavior) not refined; uncouth
  7. adjective
    unkind or cruel or uncivil
    “a rough answer”
    synonyms: harsh
    lacking kindness
  8. adjective
    ready and able to resort to force or violence
    “they were rough and determined fighting men”
    synonyms: pugnacious
    having or showing determination and energetic pursuit of your ends
  9. adverb
    with roughness or violence (`rough' is an informal variant for `roughly')
    “they treated him rough
    synonyms: roughly
  10. adjective
    not shaped by cutting or trimming
    rough gemstones”
    synonyms: uncut
    (used especially of fur or wool) not having been sheared
    see moresee less
    fashioned or shaped by cutting
    cut out
    having been cut out
    hand-hewn, hewn
    cut or shaped with hard blows of a heavy cutting instrument like an ax or chisel
    (used especially of fur or wool) shaped or finished by cutting or trimming to a uniform length
    having long and narrow ornamental cuts showing an underlying fabric
    show more antonyms...
  11. adjective
    not carefully or expertly made
    rough carpentry”
    synonyms: crude
    not having or showing or requiring special skill or proficiency
  12. adjective
    not perfected
    “a rough draft”
    “a few rough sketches”
    not carefully reworked or perfected or made smooth by polishing
  13. adjective
    not quite exact or correct
    “a rough guess”
    synonyms: approximate, approximative
    not exact
  14. noun
    the part of a golf course bordering the fairway where the grass is not cut short
    see moresee less
    type of:
    land site, site
    the piece of land on which something is located (or is to be located)
  15. verb
    prepare in preliminary or sketchy form
    synonyms: rough in, rough out
    see moresee less
    type of:
    to prepare verbally, either for written or spoken delivery
  16. adjective
    full of hardship or trials
    “they were having a rough time”
    synonyms: rocky
    difficult, hard
    not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure
  17. adjective
    unpleasantly stern
    “the nomad life is rough and hazardous”
    synonyms: harsh
    disagreeable to the senses, to the mind, or feelings
  18. adjective
    unpleasantly harsh or grating in sound
    synonyms: grating, gravelly, rasping, raspy, scratchy
    cacophonic, cacophonous
    having an unpleasant sound
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week