Share this entry


Synonyms of tough in English:


  • 1 they had tough leather gloves
    hard-wearing, long-lasting, heavy-duty, well built, made to last
    [Antonyms] soft, fragile, flimsy
  • 2 the hastily prepared steak was tough
    [Antonyms] tender
  • 3 he must have been a tough little lad to have survived it all
    resilient, strong, hardy, gritty, determined, resolute, dogged, stalwart;
    rugged, fit, robust, powerful, red-blooded, doughty;
    hardened, cynical, hard-bitten
    informalhard, (as) tough as old boots
    [Antonyms] weak, sentimental
  • 4 he conceded the need for tough sentencing the police will be told to get tough on car theft
    strict, stern, severe, hard, harsh, firm, hard-hitting, adamant, inflexible, unyielding, unbending, uncompromising, unsentimental, unsympathetic;
    informalhard-nosed, hard-boiled
    North American informalbadass
    [Antonyms] soft, light
  • 5 a tough area of London
    rough, rowdy, unruly, disorderly, violent, wild, lawless, lawbreaking, criminal;
    vicious, callous, hardened
  • 6 my father had a tough job underground
    [Antonyms] easy
  • 7 their book raises tough questions for American policy-makers
    difficult, hard, knotty, thorny, baffling, tricky, ticklish, prickly, perplexing, puzzling, mystifying, troublesome, bothersome, irksome, intractable
    [Antonyms] easy
  • 8 the tough way of life of a fisherman
    harsh, hard, austere, rigorous, rugged, spartan, bleak, grim, straitened, forbidding, cruel, savage, hostile, unfriendly, dark, dire, rough, taxing, exacting, disagreeable, unpleasant, awful
    [Antonyms] easy
  • 9 informal they had tough luck when a shot bounced off the crossbar
    unfortunate, unlucky, hard, unpleasant, regrettable, distressing
    informaltoo bad
    [Antonyms] good, lucky
  • noun

    Back to top  
  • a gang of toughs
    informalhard man, roughneck, yob, yobbo, heavy, bruiser, tough guy, toughie, gorilla, yahoo
    North American informalhood
    Australian/New Zealand informalhoon
  • Definition of tough in:

    Share this entry


    What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

    Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

    Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

    Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources