1

rough

adjective \ ˈrəf \
Updated on: 8 Dec 2017

Definition of rough

rougher; roughest
1 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
2 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
3 : coarse or rugged in character or appearance: such as
a : harsh to the ear
b : crude in style or expression
d : marked by a lack of refinement or grace : uncouth
4 a : crude, unfinished
  • rough carpentry
b : executed or ventured hastily, tentatively, or imperfectly
  • a rough draft
  • rough estimate
; also : approximate
  • a rough idea

roughish

play \ˈrə-fish\ adjective

roughness

play \ˈrəf-nəs\ noun

Examples of rough in a Sentence

  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.

Recent Examples of rough from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rough.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of rough

Middle English, from Old English rūh; akin to Old High German rūh rough, Lithuanian raukas wrinkle

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


2

rough

adverb

Definition of rough

1 : roughly 1
2 British : without usual conveniences; especially : without proper shelter
  • become homeless and have to sleep rough
  • London Times

Examples of rough in a Sentence

  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

Recent Examples of rough from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rough.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of rough

14th century


3

rough

noun

Definition of rough

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

Examples of rough in a Sentence

  1. He hit his drive into the rough.

  2. He showed me a few roughs of the new building.

Recent Examples of rough from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rough.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of rough

15th century


4

rough

verb

Definition of rough

transitive verb
1 : roughen
2 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
3 : to calk or otherwise roughen (a horse's shoes) to prevent slipping
4 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

rougher

noun
rough it
: to live under harsh or primitive conditions

Examples of rough in a Sentence

  1. He was called for roughing the kicker.

Recent Examples of rough from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rough.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of rough

1728


ROUGH Defined for English Language Learners

rough

adjective

Definition of rough for English Language Learners

  • : having a surface that is not even

  • : having or causing sudden, violent movements

  • : difficult or unpleasant to deal with


rough

adverb

Definition of rough for English Language Learners

  • : in a rough way

  • : outside and without shelter


rough

noun

Definition of rough for English Language Learners

  • 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


rough

verb

Definition of rough for English Language Learners

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


ROUGH Defined for Kids

1

rough

adjective \ ˈrəf \

Definition of rough for Students

rougher; roughest
1 : uneven in surface
  • rough tree bark
  • a rough road
2 : having many bumps and jolts
  • a rough ride
3 : not calm
  • rough seas
4 : being harsh or violent
  • rough treatment
5 : difficult or unpleasant to deal with
  • “You're in for a rough night …”
  • —J. K. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets
6 : coarse or rugged in nature or look
  • a rough face
7 : having a harsh sound
  • a rough voice
8 : not complete or exact
  • a rough estimate
  • a rough draft

roughly

adverb

roughness

noun

2

rough

noun

Definition of rough for Students

1 : uneven ground covered with high grass, brush, and stones
2 : something in a crude or unfinished state It's not a finished drawing, just a rough.

3

rough

verb

Definition of rough for Students

roughed; roughing
1 : to handle violently : beat
  • He was roughed up by bullies.
2 : to make or shape coarsely or unevenly
rough it
: to live without ordinary comforts We spent the summer roughing it in northern Maine.

Medical Dictionary

rough

adjective \ ˈrəf \

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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up rough? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to laugh loudly or immoderately

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman-tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!