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tough - definition and synonyms


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adjective tough pronunciation in British English /tʌf/
Word Forms
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  1. 1
    He’s having a really tough time at the moment.
    It was a tough decision to move to London.
    Many companies are facing tough competition.
  2. 2
    strong and able to deal with difficult situations or pain
    I think she’ll be all right because she’s very tough.
  3. 4
    very strict and severe
    The report contained tough criticism of the company’s management style.
    She’s campaigning for tough new laws on industrial pollution.
    be tough on: The new mayor promises to be tough on crime.
    get tough with (=deal with in a severe way): She promised to get tough with people who claim benefits fraudulently.
    take a tough stance/stand: We must take a tough stance against terrorism.
  4. 6
    difficult to break or damage
    The tool is made from a very tough and resilient steel.
  5. 7
    likely to behave in a violent way
    a couple of tough-looking lads
  6. 8
    a tough place is one in which there is a lot of crime and violence
    He grew up in a tough inner-city neighbourhood.

derived words


a toughly worded message


noun [uncountable]
An athlete needs to show both physical and mental toughness.


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

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troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

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