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American English: /təf/
British English: /tʌf/

Translation of tough in Spanish:

adjective tougher, toughest

  • 1 1.1 (strong, hard-wearing)
    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.
    1.2 (not tender)
    (leathery) correoso
    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.
  • 2 (person) 2.1 (physically, emotionally resilient)
    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.
    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.
    2.2 (aggressive, violent) he's just trying to be a tough guy [colloquial]
    se está haciendo el gallito or el machito [colloquial]
    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.
  • 3 3.1 (strict, uncompromising)
    de mano dura
    to be tough on somebody
    (strict) ser duro or severo con alguien
    (unfair) ser injusto para con alguien
    I think she's too tough on her son
    creo que es demasiado dura or severa con su hijo
    I'm going to have to get tough with you
    voy a tener que ser más dura contigo
    there was some tough talking by both sides
    ambas partes se expresaron sin rodeos
    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.
    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.
    3.2 (difficult)
    the job was tough going to begin with it's tough leaving your family at that age
    es duro tener que dejar a la familia a esa edad
    they had a tough time
    las pasaron muy mal
    pasaron las de Caín
    Example sentences
    • 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.
    3.3 (as interjection) [colloquial]tough (luck)!
    ¡mala suerte!


  • 1 (aggressively) stop acting tough
    no te hagas el gallito or el machito [colloquial]
  • 2 (uncompromisingly)
    con firmeza


  • [colloquial]
    matón (masculine) [colloquial]
    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.

Phrasal verbs

tough out

verb + object + adverbto tough it out [colloquial]
no transigir
no ceder
to tough it out with somebody
oponer resistencia a alguien
no ceder ante alguien
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