Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: toh

tough

1 adjective
     
Related topics: Food
tough1 S2 W3 comparative tougher, superlative toughest
1

difficult

difficult to do or deal with:
It was a tough race.
She' s had a tough life.
The company admitted that it had been a tough year.
Tough decisions will have to be made.
The reporters were asking a lot of tough questions.
have a tough time (of it) (=face a lot of difficult problems)
The family has had a tough time of it these last few months.
it's tough doing something
It's tough being married to a cop.
be tough on somebody (=cause problems for someone or make their life difficult)
Having to stay indoors all day is tough on a kid.
It was a tough call (=a difficult decision), but we had to cancel the game because of the weather.
I find his books pretty tough going (=difficult to read).
Gage predicted the president's proposal would be a tough sell (=something that is difficult to persuade someone about) before Congress. American English
when the going gets tough (the tough get going) informal (=used to say that when a situation becomes difficult, strong people take the necessary action to deal with it)
2

strong person

physically or emotionally strong and able to deal with difficult situations:
The men who work on the oil rigs are a tough bunch.
tough cookie/customer informal (=someone who is very determined to do what they want and not what other people want)
as tough as nails/as tough as old boots (=very tough)
He's as tough as nails - a good man to have on the team.
3

strong material

not easily broken or made weaker:
tough, durable plastic
a very tough, hard-wearing cloth
4

strict/firm

very strict or firm
tough on/with
My mother was very tough on my sister.
It's time to get tough with drunk drivers.
The EU is taking a tough line with the UK over this issue.
5

violent area

a tough part of a town has a lot of crime or violence
6

tough!/that's tough!

spoken used when you do not have any sympathy with someone:
'I'm getting wet.' 'Tough! You should've brought your umbrella.'
She didn't tell us she was coming, so if this screws up her plans that's just tough.
7

tough luck!

spoken
a) used when you do not have any sympathy for someone's problems:
Well, that's just their tough luck! It was their mistake.
b) British English used when you feel sympathy about something bad that has happened to someone:
You didn't get the job? Oh, tough luck!
8

tough shit!

spoken not polite used when you do not have any sympathy for someone's problems
9

violent person

likely to behave violently and having no gentle qualities:
one of football's most notorious tough guys
tough young thugs looking for trouble
10

food

DF difficult to cut or eat [≠ tender]:
The meat was tough and hard to chew.
the tough outer leaves of the cabbage
11

tough love

a way of helping someone to change their behaviour by treating them in a kind but strict way
toughly adverb
toughness noun [uncountable]
WORD FOCUS: hard WORD FOCUS: hard
hard and not bending: solid, firm, stiff, rigid

meat that is too hard: tough

skin that is old and hard: leathery, calloused

hard and easily broken: brittle


See also
hard
WORD FOCUS: difficult WORD FOCUS: difficult
difficult to do: hard, tough, challenging, daunting

difficult and needing a lot of physical effort: tough, strenuous, back-breaking, gruelling, arduous, punishing

difficult to deal with or talk about: tricky, awkward, delicate, sensitive, touchy

words for describing a difficult person: awkward, trying

words for describing difficult conditions: adverse, hostile


See also
difficult
WORD FOCUS: strong WORD FOCUS: strong
person: tough, muscular, wiry, powerful

thing: tough, sturdy, durable, rugged, heavy-duty, indestructible, well-made, robust

country/organization: powerful, mighty, influential, dominant
strong

See also
strong

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