adjective \ˈrəf\

: having a surface that is not even

: having or causing sudden, violent movements

: difficult or unpleasant to deal with


Full Definition of ROUGH

a :  marked by inequalities, ridges, or projections on the surface :  coarse
b :  covered with or made up of coarse and often shaggy hair <rough-coated collie> — compare smooth, wirehaired
c (1) :  having a broken, uneven, or bumpy surface <rough terrain>
(2) :  difficult to travel through or penetrate :  wild <into the rough woods — P. B. Shelley>
a :  turbulent, tempestuous <rough seas>
b (1) :  characterized by harshness, violence, or force
(2) :  presenting a challenge :  difficult <rough to deal with — R. M. McAlmon>
:  coarse or rugged in character or appearance: as
a :  harsh to the ear
b :  crude in style or expression
c :  indelicate
d :  marked by a lack of refinement or grace :  uncouth
a :  crude, unfinished <rough carpentry>
b :  executed or ventured hastily, tentatively, or imperfectly <a rough draft> <rough estimate>; also :  approximate <a rough idea>
rough·ish \ˈrə-fish\ adjective
rough·ness \ˈrəf-nəs\ noun

Examples of ROUGH

  1. He trimmed the rough edge of the paper.
  2. We traveled over rough dirt roads.
  3. They hiked through rough terrain.
  4. We were a bit shaken from the plane's rough landing.
  5. He went through a rough patch after his divorce.
  6. They've hit a few rough spots in their marriage.
  7. Despite a rough start, the team won more games this season than last.

Origin of ROUGH

Middle English, from Old English rūh; akin to Old High German rūh rough, Lithuanian raukas wrinkle
First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of ROUGH

rough, harsh, uneven, rugged, scabrous mean not smooth or even. rough implies points, bristles, ridges, or projections on the surface <a rough wooden board>. harsh implies a surface or texture distinctly unpleasant to the touch <a harsh fabric that chafes the skin>. uneven implies a lack of uniformity in height, breadth, or quality <an old house with uneven floors>. rugged implies irregularity or roughness of land surface and connotes difficulty of travel <a rugged landscape>. scabrous implies scaliness or prickliness of surface <a scabrous leaf>.
synonyms see in addition rude



: in a rough way

: outside and without shelter

Full Definition of ROUGH

:  roughly 1
British :  without usual conveniences; especially :  without proper shelter <become homeless and have to sleep roughLondon Times>

Examples of ROUGH

  1. The engine is running a little rough.
  2. Life has been treating her pretty rough.
  3. He plays rough with the dog.
  4. people living rough on the streets

First Known Use of ROUGH

14th century



the rough golf : an area on a golf course covered with tall grass that makes it difficult to hit the ball

: something (such as a drawing) that is done quickly and is not detailed or finished

: a person who is loud and violent

Full Definition of ROUGH

:  uneven ground covered with high grass, brush, and stones; specifically :  such ground bordering a golf fairway
:  the rugged or disagreeable side or aspect <hiking-camping admirers of nature in the rough — Eleanor Stirling>
a :  something in a crude, unfinished, or preliminary state
b :  broad outline :  general terms <the question … has been discussed in roughManchester Guardian Weekly>
c :  a hasty preliminary drawing or layout
:  rowdy

Examples of ROUGH

  1. He hit his drive into the rough.
  2. He showed me a few roughs of the new building.

First Known Use of ROUGH

15th century



American football + ice hockey : to hit (a player) very hard in a way that is not allowed by the rules

Full Definition of ROUGH

transitive verb
:  roughen
a :  to subject to abuse :  manhandle, beat —usually used with up
b :  to subject to unnecessary and intentional violence in a sport <a penalty for roughing the passer>
c :  shell 3 —used with up <was roughed up for six runs>
:  to calk or otherwise roughen (a horse's shoes) to prevent slipping
a :  to shape, make, or dress in a rough or preliminary way
b :  to indicate the chief lines of <rough out the structure of a building>
rough·er noun
rough it
:  to live under harsh or primitive conditions

Examples of ROUGH

  1. He was called for roughing the kicker.

First Known Use of ROUGH



adjective \ˈrəf\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of ROUGH

:  having a broken, uneven, or bumpy surface; specifically :  forming or being rough colonies usually made up of organisms that form chains or filaments and tend to marked decrease in capsule formation and virulence—used of dissociated strains of bacteria; compare smooth


Next Word in the Dictionary: roughagePrevious Word in the Dictionary: rouge vegetalAll Words Near: rough
May 26, 2015
sacrilegious Hear it
grossly irreverent
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears