What does Tough mean?

Definitions for Tough

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Tough.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. street fighter, toughnoun

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

  2. hood, hoodlum, goon, punk, thug, tough, toughie, strong-armernoun

    an aggressive and violent young criminal

  3. bully, tough, hooligan, ruffian, roughneck, rowdy, yob, yobo, yobboadjective

    a cruel and brutal fellow

  4. toughadjective

    not given to gentleness or sentimentality

    "a tough character"

  5. rugged, toughadjective

    very difficult; severely testing stamina or resolution

    "a rugged competitive examination"; "the rugged conditions of frontier life"; "the competition was tough"; "it's a tough life"; "it was a tough job"

  6. tough, toughenedadjective

    physically toughened

    "the tough bottoms of his feet"

  7. sturdy, toughadjective

    substantially made or constructed

    "sturdy steel shelves"; "sturdy canvas"; "a tough all-weather fabric"; "some plastics are as tough as metal"

  8. ruffianly, toughadjective

    violent and lawless

    "the more ruffianly element"; "tough street gangs"

  9. bad, toughadjective

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

    "my throat feels bad"; "she felt bad all over"; "he was feeling tough after a restless night"

  10. toughadjective

    resistant to cutting or chewing

  11. hard, toughadjective

    unfortunate or hard to bear

    "had hard luck"; "a tough break"

  12. baffling, elusive, knotty, problematic, problematical, toughadjective

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

    "a baffling problem"; "I faced the knotty problem of what to have for breakfast"; "a problematic situation at home"


  1. toughnoun

    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.

  2. toughverb

    To endure.

  3. toughverb

    To toughen.

  4. toughadjective

    strong and resilient; sturdy

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

  5. toughadjective

    difficult to cut or chew

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

  6. toughadjective

    rugged or physically hardy

    Only a tough species will survive in the desert.

  7. toughadjective


    He had a reputation as a tough negotiator.

  8. toughadjective

    harsh or severe

  9. toughadjective

    rowdy or rough.

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

  10. toughadjective

    difficult or demanding

    This is a tough crowd.

  11. toughadjective

    Undergoing plastic deformation before breaking.

  12. Etymology: From toh, from tanhuz.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. TOUGHadjective

    Etymology: toh , Saxon.

    Of bodies some are fragile, and some are tough, and not fragile. Francis Bacon, Nat. Hist.

    The bow he drew,
    And almost join’d the horns of the tough eugh. Dryden.

    Fate with nature’s law would strive,
    To shew plain-dealing once an age may thrive;
    And when so tough a frame she could not bend,
    Exceeded her commission to befriend. Dryden.

    O sides you are too tough!
    Will you yet hold? William Shakespeare.

    A body made of brass the crone demands
    For her lov’d nursling, strung with nerves of wire,
    Tough to the last, and with no toil to tire. Dryden.


  1. Tough

    Tough is a song written by Joe Leathers and Monty Criswell, and recorded by American country music artist Craig Morgan. It was released in March 2007 as the second single from his album Little Bit of Life.


  1. tough

    Tough refers to something that is strong, resilient, durable, or difficult to break, tear, or damage. It can also refer to someone who is physically or emotionally strong, unyielding, or stout-hearted in order to overcome challenges or adversity.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Tough

    having the quality of flexibility without brittleness; yielding to force without breaking; capable of resisting great strain; as, the ligaments of animals are remarkably tough

  2. Tough

    not easily broken; able to endure hardship; firm; strong; as, tough sinews

  3. Tough

    not easily separated; viscous; clammy; tenacious; as, tough phlegm

  4. Tough

    stiff; rigid; not flexible; stubborn; as, a tough bow

  5. Tough

    severe; violent; as, a tough storm

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Tough

    tuf, adj. not easily broken: firm: stiff, viscous, sticky: stubborn, hard to manage, trying: violent: tenacious: able to endure hardship.—n. a rough, a bully.—v.t. or v.i. Tough′en, to make or become tough.—adj. Tough′ish, rather tough.—adv. Tough′ly.—n. Tough′ness. [A.S. tóh; cog. with Ger. zähe.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. TOUGH

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Tough is ranked #74375 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Tough surname appeared 260 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Tough.

    93.8% or 244 total occurrences were White.
    3% or 8 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Tough' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3162

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Tough' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2971

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Tough' in Adjectives Frequency: #328

How to pronounce Tough?

How to say Tough in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Tough in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Tough in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of Tough in a Sentence

  1. Robert Glatter:

    It's a tough question, there is a possibility you can alter the neuro circuitry just from ingesting some of these agents. ... There could be some sustained injury.

  2. Bob Barnes:

    I turned it into a really tough day and it didn’t need to be, i made a bad decision that day and I got mad at myself because I left a sure thing, which was the road with a shoulder.

  3. Dave Chappelle:

    Listen, weve been through a tough time, there have been tornadoes, theres been Klan rallies, theres been shootings but were still hereand were still strong. And the only way but not the only way but the best way that we can honor our fallen is by getting up better than we were before.

  4. Dylan Cease:

    They’re obviously a good offensive team and if you put them in hitters' counts it’s going to be tough.

  5. Thatcher Demko:

    I think I struggled with (COVID). I think a lot of guys did, it’s tough on the body. The biggest thing for me were just the fatigue, the body aches and some of the brain fog stuff that you see in the media.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Tough

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"Tough." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 14 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Tough>.

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    steering mechanism for a vessel; a mechanical device by which a vessel is steered
    A breastwork
    B dint
    C helm
    D ternion

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