What does tough love mean?

Definitions for tough love

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word tough love.


  1. tough love(Noun)

    The compassionate use of stringent disciplinary measures, to attempt to improve someone's behavior.


  1. Tough love

    Tough love is an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run. The phrase was evidently coined by Bill Milliken when he wrote the book Tough Love in 1968 and has been used by numerous authors since then. In most uses, there must be some actual love or feeling of affection behind the harsh or stern treatment to be defined as tough love. For example, genuinely concerned parents refusing to support their drug-addicted child financially until he or she enters drug rehabilitation would be said to be practicing tough love. Athletic coaches who maintain strict rules and highly demanding training regimens, but who care about their players, could also be said to be practicing tough love. "Tough love" boot camps for teenagers have been described as child abuse, and the National Institutes of Health noted that "get tough treatments do not work and there is some evidence that they may make the problem worse". There is evidence to suggest that what the British call tough love can be beneficial in the development of preferred character traits in children up to five years old. However, the British definition used by these researchers is more similar to the concept of "authoritative" parenting, whereas American ideas about tough love are closer to the notion of "authoritarian" parenting, which has been linked with negative outcomes in other research.

Suggested Resources

  1. tough love

    Song lyrics by tough love -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by tough love on the Lyrics.com website.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of tough love in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of tough love in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. George Herbert Walker Bush:

    The greatest gift a parent can give a child is unconditional love. As a child wanders and strays, finding his bearings, he needs a sense of absolute love from a parent. There's nothing wrong with tough love, as long as the love is unconditional.

Images & Illustrations of tough love

  1. tough lovetough lovetough love

Translations for tough love

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • σκληρή αγάπηGreek

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"tough love." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 22 Apr. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/tough love>.

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