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[tuhf-uh n] /ˈtʌf ən/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to make or become tough or tougher.
Origin of toughen
1575-85; tough + -en1
Related forms
toughener, noun
harden, firm, strengthen, stiffen. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for toughen
  • Embedded in the amorphous portions of both proteins are two kinds of crystalline regions that toughen the silk.
  • If your housing policies are too modest, you toughen them up.
  • But the words on accompanying plaques toughen them up.
  • The measures would cap payments to large farms and toughen environmental standards while leaving the overall budget unchanged.
  • In her younger days her desire to win had served to toughen her as far as any opponent was concerned.
  • It will only suit him even more on the weekend as they'll toughen it up.
  • Cells located at the spot where the leaf stem attaches to the tree, toughen and begin to form a protective waterproof scar.
  • The borax is added to toughen the baitfish so they will stay on the hook better and last longer.
  • Eggs, cheese and solid meat can toughen when microwaved on high.
  • In addition, he cosponsored legislation to abolish parole and toughen penalties for violent criminals.
British Dictionary definitions for toughen


to make or become tough or tougher
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for toughen

1580s, from tough (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Toughened; toughening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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