SKIP TO CONTENT

roughneck

A roughneck is a troublemaker who gets in a lot of fights and doesn’t have good manners. Roughnecks are also men who work at dangerous, grueling hard-labor jobs. Maybe that’s why they’re so mad.

Roughnecks weren’t always brutes — the term comes from Texas and used to just refer to a “rugged individual.” Then it was a word for someone who worked on an oil rig. But now a roughneck is someone, usually a big man, who’s tough, crude, and ready to fight. Roughnecks are the opposite of mild-mannered people. Roughnecks are uneducated and foul-mouthed. They’re the kind of people your parents warn you about.

Definitions of roughneck
  1. noun
    a cruel and brutal fellow
    synonyms: bully, hooligan, rowdy, ruffian, tough, yob, yobbo, yobo
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    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
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’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.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week