Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definitions and thesaurus

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective tough pronunciation in British English /tʌf/
Word Forms
  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.


derived words



a toughly worded message


noun [uncountable]

An athlete needs to show both physical and mental toughness.


… a teaching method in which groups of children learn independently using a computer linked to the internet

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a derogatory word used for referring to people in the banking and investment industry who are thought of as taking serious risks in order to increase their own earnings …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog