- 1(Of a substance or object) strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough or careless handling: tough backpacks 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 a person or animal) able to endure hardship or pain; physically robust: even at this ripe old age, he’s still 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.
- 1.2Able to protect one’s own interests or maintain one’s own opinions without being intimidated by opposition; confident and determined: she’s both sensitive and toughMore 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.
- 1.3Demonstrating a strict and uncompromising attitude or 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.
- 1.4(Of a person) strong 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.
- 1.5(Of an area) notorious for violence and crime.More 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.
- 1.6(Of food, especially meat) difficult to cut or chew.More 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.
- 2Involving considerable difficulty or hardship; requiring great determination or effort: the training has been quite tough he had a tough time getting into a good collegeMore 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.
- 2.1Used to express sympathy with someone in an unpleasant or 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.
nounBack to top
- A tough person, especially a gangster or criminal: young toughs sporting their state-of-the-art firearmsMore example sentences
- They're basically young toughs in these projects, and they're just not responding to any kind of calls for moderation to the violence, not even from their parents, by the way.
- He didn't want unemployed young toughs handing out street justice.
- The three obviously mature gentlemen successfully vanquish a group of unruly young toughs with head butts.
verb(tough it out) • informal Back to top
- Endure a period of hardship or difficulty.More example sentences
- We've been trying to tough it out but it's difficult to come together in a short space of time under a new coach.
- We always seem to be able to tough it out when things are against us.
- Instead, he tried to use his bully-boy manner and arrogance to tough it out.
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.