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tough

[tuhf] /tʌf/
adjective, tougher, toughest.
1.
strong and durable; not easily broken or cut.
2.
not brittle or tender.
3.
difficult to masticate, as food:
a tough steak.
4.
of viscous consistency, as liquid or semiliquid matter:
tough molasses.
5.
capable of great endurance; sturdy; hardy:
tough troops.
6.
not easily influenced, as a person; unyielding; stubborn:
a tough man to work for.
7.
hardened; incorrigible:
a tough criminal.
8.
difficult to perform, accomplish, or deal with; hard, trying, or troublesome:
a tough problem.
9.
hard to bear or endure (often used ironically):
tough luck.
10.
vigorous; severe; violent:
a tough struggle.
11.
vicious; rough; rowdyish:
a tough character; a tough neighborhood.
12.
practical, realistic, and lacking in sentimentality; tough-minded.
13.
Slang. remarkably excellent; first-rate; great.
adverb
14.
in a tough manner.
noun
15.
a ruffian; rowdy.
Idioms
16.
hang tough, Slang. hang (def 56).
17.
tough it out, Informal. to endure or resist hardship or adversity.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English (adj.); Old English tōh; compare Dutch taai, German zäh(e)
Related forms
toughly, adverb
toughness, noun
supertough, adjective
untough, adjective
untoughly, adverb
untoughness, noun
Synonyms
1. firm, hard. 5. durable. 6. inflexible.
Antonyms
1. fragile. 5. feeble, weak.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for toughness
  • Some researchers contend that behind boys' facade of toughness, they are vulnerable and desperate for emotional connection.
  • Each morning the boys are whipped by their elders to instill toughness.
  • There's an uncommon kind of toughness in these outfitters.
  • It is properly used in applications where toughness is needed, such as military aircraft canopies and windshields.
  • Getting scratched up, muddied and sometimes bloodied were evidence of our toughness.
  • Cellulose fibers give wood hardness and cotton toughness.
  • Day-to-day work in this hellhole requires a toughness and adaptability that few people can muster.
  • Adding a small amount of vanadium to steel instantly boosts the strength of the metal, its toughness and its resistance to heat.
  • Major league athletes are rewarded for talent, toughness, and single-minded dedication.
  • Spider silk is a remarkable material known for its strength and toughness.
British Dictionary definitions for toughness

toughness

/ˈtʌfnɪs/
noun
1.
the quality or an instance of being tough
2.
(metallurgy) the ability of a metal to withstand repeated twisting and bending, measured by the energy in kilojoules needed to break it See brittleness (sense 2), softness (sense 2)

tough

/tʌf/
adjective
1.
strong or resilient; durable: a tough material
2.
not tender: he could not eat the tough steak
3.
having a great capacity for endurance; hardy and fit: a tough mountaineer
4.
rough or pugnacious: a tough gangster
5.
resolute or intractable: a tough employer
6.
difficult or troublesome to do or deal with: a tough problem
7.
(informal) unfortunate or unlucky: it's tough on him
noun
8.
a rough, vicious, or pugnacious person
adverb
9.
(informal) violently, aggressively, or intractably: to treat someone tough
10.
(informal) hang tough, to be or appear to be strong or determined
verb
11.
(transitive) (slang) to stand firm, hold out against (a difficulty or difficult situation) (esp in tough it out)
Derived Forms
toughish, adjective
toughly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English tōh; related to Old High German zāhi tough, Old Norse trodden ground in front of a house
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 toughness

tough

adj.

Old English toh "difficult to break or chew," from Proto-Germanic *tankhuz (cf. Middle Low German tege, Middle Dutch taey, Dutch taai, Old High German zach, German zäh). See rough for spelling change.

Figurative sense of "strenuous, difficult, hard to beat" is first recorded c.1200; that of "hard to do, trying, laborious" is from 1610s. Verb tough it "endure the experience" is first recorded 1830, American English. Tough guy first recorded 1932. Tough-minded first recorded 1907 in William James. Tough luck first recorded 1912; tough shit is from 1946.

n.

"street ruffian," 1866, American English, from tough (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for toughness

touchie-feelie

adjective

Having to do with sensitivity training and other such goings-on where people touch and feel each other: They're all part of the touchie-feelie movement/ It's not going to be a touchy-feely thing (1970s+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with toughness
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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