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Pronunciation: /tʌf/

Translation of tough in Spanish:

adjective/adjetivo (-er, -est)

  • 1 1.1 (strong, hard-wearing) [fabric/rubber/clothing] resistente, fuerte
    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) [meat] duro; (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) fuerte 2.2 (aggressive, violent) bravucón he's just trying to be a tough guy [colloquial/familiar] se está haciendo el gallito or el machito [colloquial/familiar]
    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.
    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.
  • 3 3.1 (strict, uncompromising) [boss/teacher] severo, exigente, estricto; [legislation/terms/line] duro; [policy/discipline] duro, de mano dura; [negotiator] implacable to be tough on sb (strict) ser* duro or severo con algn (unfair) ser* injusto para con algn 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 3.2 (difficult) [exam/decision/question] difícil, peliagudo the job was tough going to begin with al principio, el trabajo se me hizo muy cuesta arriba 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/como interjección) [colloquial/familiar] tough (luck)! ¡mala suerte!
    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.


  • 1.1 (aggressively) stop acting tough no te hagas el gallito or el machito [colloquial/familiar] 1.2 (uncompromisingly) con firmeza


Phrasal verbs

tough out

verb + object + adverb/verbo + complemento + adverbio to tough it out [colloquial/familiar] no transigir*, no ceder to tough it out with sb oponer* resistencia a algn, no ceder ante algn

Definition of tough in:

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Cultural fact of the day

Primaria is the name given in Spain to the first of the two compulsory levels of education. It is for pupils between six and twelve years of age and leads to the ESO - Educación Secundaria Obligatoria.