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TOUGH

Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does tough mean? 

TOUGH (noun)
  The noun TOUGH has 3 senses:

1. someone who learned to fight in the streets rather than being formally trained in the sport of boxing
2. an aggressive and violent young criminal
3. a cruel and brutal fellow

  Familiarity information: TOUGH used as a noun is uncommon.


TOUGH (adjective)
  The adjective TOUGH has 9 senses:

1. not given to gentleness or sentimentality
2. very difficult; severely testing stamina or resolution
3. physically toughened
4. substantially made or constructed
5. violent and lawless
6. feeling physical discomfort or pain ('tough' is occasionally used colloquially for 'bad')
7. resistant to cutting or chewing
8. unfortunate or hard to bear
9. making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe

  Familiarity information: TOUGH used as an adjective is familiar.


 Dictionary entry details 


TOUGH (noun)


Sense 1tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

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

Classified under:

Nouns denoting people

Synonyms:

tough; street fighter

Hypernyms ("tough" is a kind of...):

battler; belligerent; combatant; fighter; scrapper (someone who fights (or is fighting))


Sense 2tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

An aggressive and violent young criminal

Classified under:

Nouns denoting people

Synonyms:

strong-armer; punk; hoodlum; hood; toughie; thug; tough; goon

Hypernyms ("tough" is a kind of...):

criminal; crook; felon; malefactor; outlaw (someone who has committed (or been legally convicted of) a crime)


Sense 3tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

A cruel and brutal fellow

Classified under:

Nouns denoting people

Synonyms:

bully; yobo; yobbo; yob; ruffian; rowdy; roughneck; hooligan; tough

Hypernyms ("tough" is a kind of...):

aggressor; assailant; assaulter; attacker (someone who attacks)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "tough"):

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)


TOUGH (adjective)


Sense 1tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Not given to gentleness or sentimentality

Context example:

a tough character

Similar:

hard-bitten; hard-boiled; pugnacious (tough and callous by virtue of experience)

tough-minded; unsentimental (facing facts or difficulties realistically and with determination)

Also:

hard (dispassionate)

insensitive (deficient in human sensibility; not mentally or morally sensitive)

Antonym:

tender (given to sympathy or gentleness or sentimentality)


Sense 2tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Very difficult; severely testing stamina or resolution

Synonyms:

tough; rugged

Context examples:

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

Similar:

difficult; hard (not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure)


Sense 3tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Physically toughened

Synonyms:

toughened; tough

Context example:

the tough bottoms of his feet

Similar:

weather-beaten (tanned and coarsened from being outdoors)

enured; hardened; inured (made tough by habitual exposure)

callous; calloused; thickened (having calluses; having skin made tough and thick through wear)

Also:

strong (having strength or power greater than average or expected)

experienced; experient (having experience; having knowledge or skill from observation or participation)

rugged (sturdy and strong in constitution or construction; enduring)

Antonym:

tender (physically untoughened)


Sense 4tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Substantially made or constructed

Synonyms:

sturdy; tough

Context examples:

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

Similar:

rugged (sturdy and strong in constitution or construction; enduring)


Sense 5tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Violent and lawless

Synonyms:

ruffianly; tough

Context examples:

the more ruffianly element / tough street gangs

Similar:

violent (acting with or marked by or resulting from great force or energy or emotional intensity)


Sense 6tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

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

Synonyms:

bad; tough

Context examples:

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

Similar:

uncomfortable (providing or experiencing physical discomfort)

Domain usage:

colloquialism (a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech)


Sense 7tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Resistant to cutting or chewing

Similar:

tough-skinned (having a relatively tough outer covering)

fibrous; hempen (having or resembling fibers especially fibers used in making cordage such as those of jute)

fibrous; sinewy; stringy; unchewable ((of meat) full of sinews; especially impossible to chew)

coriaceous; leathered; leatherlike; leathery (resembling or made to resemble leather; tough but pliable)

chewy (requiring much chewing)

cartilaginous; gristly; rubbery (difficult to chew)

Also:

inedible; uneatable (not suitable for food)

Antonym:

tender (easy to cut or chew)


Sense 8tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Unfortunate or hard to bear

Synonyms:

tough; hard

Context examples:

had hard luck / a tough break

Similar:

bad (having undesirable or negative qualities)


Sense 9tough [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

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

Synonyms:

baffling; knotty; problematic; problematical; tough

Context examples:

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

Similar:

difficult; hard (not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure)


 Learn English with... Proverbs of the week 
"Cider on beer, never fear; beer upon cider, makes a bad rider." (English proverb)

"Whatever you sow, you reap." (Afghanistan proverb)

"A problem is solved when it gets tougher." (Arabic proverb)

"The word goes out but the message is lost." (Corsican proverb)

 TOUGH: related words searches 

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