- 1(Of a substance or object) strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough handling: tough rucksacks for climbersMore example sentences
- He knows just how to make tight leggings, rough, tough leathers and plush cashmere absolutely dazzling.
- If you have ever polished some hard, tough material like metal or marble you know how much energy it takes.
- The ground began shacking with such great force, not even the lifeless roots obscured in the grey soil were tough enough to hold up their dying masters.
- 1.1(Of food, especially meat) difficult to cut or chew: the hastily prepared steak was toughMore example sentences
- I've been grazing among the blogs and chewing that question like a tough mouthful of cud.
- Hominids had teeth that resembled those of pigs and bears, which can chew tough, fiber-rich food.
- Most of them are sipping coffee, or reading newspapers, or chewing morosely on tough bread.
- 2Able to endure hardship or pain: she was as tough as old bootsMore example sentences
- Happily, Russian skaters tend to be tough as old boots.
- It then turned out that my grandad is as tough as old boots, and probably just wanted to take attention away from me getting a job.
- Finally there is the underlying truth that Carol is as tough as old boots, and frankly, as sexy as a Sherman tank.
- 2.1Having the confidence and determination to cope in difficult situations: he liked editors who were tough enough to make the gradeMore example sentences
- Brees is smart, tough and had the confidence of his teammates after leading them to 20 wins over the last two years.
- In any case, with Beeching reluctant to play the game and with Marples determined to be tough, it was difficult to predict which lines would be spared in advance.
- I saw the older men trying to demonstrate they were still tough and able.
- 2.2Difficult and requiring determination or effort: we have six tough matches in a rowMore example sentences
arduous, onerous, difficult, demanding, hard, heavy, taxing, burdensome, tiring, exhausting, punishing, wearying, fatiguing, laborious, strenuous, exacting, troublesome, formidable, stressful, Herculeandifficult, hard, knotty, thorny, baffling, tricky, ticklish, prickly, perplexing, puzzling, mystifying, troublesome, bothersome, irksome, intractable
- I think acting is tough, as it requires great mental discipline.
- These questions require us to make tough decisions about how we distribute our finite resources.
- Also: finishing a tough job requires that you draw your hand theatrically across your brow.
- 2.3Used to express sympathy with someone in a difficult situation: Poor kid. It’s tough on herMore example sentences
- Sereana Naikelekele says the situation is tough on all five kids.
- It is tough on Maloney that the arduous assignment of a UEFA Cup tie at home to VfB Stuttgart is being billed as if it were the equivalent of finishing school for the player.
- I think it's going to be tough on the mother when that trial comes.
- 3Demonstrating a strict and uncompromising approach: police have been getting tough with drivers tough new laws on tobacco advertisingMore example sentences
- As it developed, the Court took a tough approach to applying the law, and did not permit many restrictive agreements.
- The Government was positioning itself nicely to run a campaign based on its tough approach to dealing with asylum seekers.
- But Blunkett's tough approach to social reform could only be argued by a minister free of personal distractions.
- 3.1 [often as exclamation] Used to express a lack of sympathy with someone: I feel the way I feel, and if you don’t like it, toughMore example sentences
- If what they did is within the parameters of the law, then tough for her she should have known better.
- 4Strong and prone to violence: tough young teenagersMore example sentences
- While all agree he is tough and prone to losing his temper, there is almost universal respect for his abilities as a soldier.
- Galvin's characters jump off the page at you whether he is describing a tough young cop like Fox or ‘Beano’ his snout.
- Outside the town centre pubs, tough young men and women in vests, jeans and tattoos were giving each other the thumbs up and cackling with glee.
- 4.1(Of an area) notorious for violence and crime: a tough part of the townMore example sentences
- Yet, it's a vehicle for tough people venturing into tough areas.
- Brought up the hard way, the Garda believed that for one to become so prominent in such a tough area, there was no doubting Mr Kelly was a highly intelligent man.
- So it's a very, very tough area that the marines are facing here.
noun• informal Back to top
- A rough and violent man: a gang of toughsMore example sentences
- One disaster follows another on this, the worst day of Bruce Nolan's life, as he's fired from the station, beaten up by a gang of toughs, who then vandalise his car.
- These Christian bikers come from all walks of life, though many of them are ex-motorcycle gang toughs who've been born again.
- A misfit gang of working-class street toughs from Queens, the Ramones were ruled with an iron fist by guitarist Johnny.
verb(tough it out) • informal Back to top
a tough nut to crack
- see nut.
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- This toughish walk takes 4-5 hours, but leads through spectacular scenery.
- Ours was toughish and not much on taste either.
- The buffet runs a fish-centric gamut from savory casseroles and coconut-milk stews to toughish scallops and decent sushi.
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- These acts are illegal and have to be pursued vigorously and toughly, without any exceptions.
- However, Britain and the US may struggle to persuade the other three permanent members of the Security Council - France, Russia and China - not to use their vetoes to block such a toughly worded resolution.
- As I have indicated, there is widespread ignorance of penal affairs, and talking toughly about crime and its punishment is a good way to appeal, through that ignorance, to the illiberal and the reactionary.
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- They had the determination, mental toughness and abundant stamina to make the grade.
- They have earned a reputation for their toughness and determination.
- That means consistency from game to game, and toughness and fitness throughout a tournament.
Old English tōh, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch taai and German zäh.