tough Definition

  • 1strong and durable; not easily broken or cut
  • 2difficult to do, deal with, or overcome
  • 3able to endure hardship or pain

Using tough: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "tough" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The material is tough enough to withstand extreme temperatures.

  • Example

    It was a tough decision to make.

  • Example

    She had a tough time adjusting to her new job.

  • Example

    He's a tough guy who doesn't show his emotions easily.

tough Synonyms and Antonyms

Idioms Using tough

  • to be stronger or more resilient than others in dealing with difficult situations


    Despite all the setbacks, he proved to be made of tougher stuff than anyone else.

  • to become strict or forceful in order to achieve a goal or deal with a situation


    The government needs to get tough on crime.

  • hang tough

    to remain determined and resolute in the face of adversity


    We need to hang tough and not give up now.

Phrases with tough

  • used to express sympathy when something bad has happened to someone


    Tough luck, but you should have been more careful.

  • a person who is strong-willed and determined, and able to cope with difficult situations


    She's a tough cookie, she'll get through this.

  • the use of strict discipline or measures to promote the growth or welfare of another person, especially a child or partner


    Sometimes, tough love is necessary to help someone improve their behavior.

Origins of tough

from Middle English 'tough', meaning 'strong, tenacious'


Summary: tough in Brief

The term 'tough' [tสŒf] describes something that is strong, durable, and able to endure hardship or pain. It also refers to situations that are difficult to overcome, such as 'It was a tough decision to make.' 'Tough' has idiomatic expressions like 'tough luck,' used to express sympathy, and 'tough love,' referring to strict discipline for growth. 'Tough' has synonyms like 'challenging' and 'arduous,' and antonyms like 'easy' and 'simple.'

How do native speakers use this expression?