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tough break

Also, tough luck. A trying or troublesome circumstance, bad luck, as in He got a tough break when he was denied a raise, or Tough luck for the team last night. This idiom uses tough in the sense of “difficult,” a usage dating from the early 1600s. The variant is also used as a sarcastic interjection, as in So you didn't make straight A's—tough luck! A slangy variant of this interjection is tough beans, and a ruder version is tough shit. [ ; c. 1900 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for tough break
Historical Examples
  • This would be a lucky night for the Jerries, and a tough break for the folks crouching in the darkened streets.

    A Yankee Flier with the R.A.F. Rutherford G. Montgomery
  • But it was a tough break for Frank—morganatic marriage and all that.

  • And the tough break is the both of them lives on the same block.

    The Boy Grew Older Heywood Broun
  • It's a tough break, kid, but the sooner you forget her the better.

    The Chameleon Man William P. McGivern
  • "That's the kind of tough break we get in our kind of job," Agent Carter said, and made a flip wave with his hand.

    Dave Dawson at Casablanca Robert Sydney Bowen
  • "Well, that certainly is one tough break for a poor little girl," Brandon sympathized.

    Spacehounds of IPC Edward Elmer Smith

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