Basic+ Word of the Day: tough

tough (adjective) LISTEN

"Math is tough!"

Tough means ‘difficult.’

  • The exam was tough, but I think I passed.
  • It's tough to become a movie star.

Tough also means ‘strong.’

  • The finish on the wooden floor is tough and doesn't show scratches.

Tough can also mean ‘difficult to chew.’

  • The steak was overcooked and tough.

Don't confuse it with

though: in spite of the fact that. Example: “Though the team played hard, they lost the game.” The pronunciation is really different too!

Common uses

tough guy: a man who is strong, intimidating and can deal with difficult circumstances. Example: “Humphrey Bogart often played tough guy roles.”

Did you know?

Tough love is requiring someone you love to take responsibility for their actions. For example, parents may require an adult child to move out of the house and find a job.

In pop culture

Watch this adorable video of Simon the Cat. Although it’s called “Tough Love” it’s just about two cats who play tough with each other.

There are other meanings of tough.
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