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rough and tumble Line breaks: rough and tum¦ble

Definition of rough and tumble in English:


A situation without rules or organization; a free-for-all: the rough and tumble of political life [as modifier]: the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of the dealing room
More example sentences
  • Newsgirls were to be found, but young females generally enjoyed fewer opportunities within the rough-and-tumble street culture milieu.
  • The best of the landscapes meld nature's rough and tumble with the rough and tumble of the paint to rich effect.
  • He examines the rough-and-tumble world of Chicago party politics, where labor organizations were but one group of players.
Irish , North American , & Australian  donnybrook
Law , dated affray
informal scrap, dust-up, punch-up, shindy
North American informal rough house


Early 19th century: originally boxing slang.

Definition of rough and tumble in:
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