rough

1 of 4

adjective

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 adjective
roughness noun

rough

2 of 4

adverb

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

rough

3 of 4

noun

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

rough

4 of 4

verb

roughed; roughing; roughs

transitive verb

1
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 sense 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
Phrases
rough it
: to live under harsh or primitive conditions
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Example Sentences

Adjective He trimmed the rough edge of the paper. We traveled over rough dirt roads. They hiked through rough terrain. We were a bit shaken from the plane's rough landing. He went through a rough patch after his divorce. They've hit a few rough spots in their marriage. Despite a rough start, the team won more games this season than last. Adverb The engine is running a little rough. Life has been treating her pretty rough. He plays rough with the dog. people living rough on the streets Noun He hit his drive into the rough. He showed me a few roughs of the new building. Verb He was called for roughing the kicker. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Migrant apprehensions at the southern border are a rough index for how many people cross the border illegally: The more arrests, the more undocumented migrants likely make it across. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 29 Nov. 2022 Already, the number of Haitian migrants intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard has increased more than fourfold since last year, with many setting sail in overcrowded boats known to capsize in rough waters. Natalie Kitroeff Adriana Zehbrauskas, New York Times, 29 Nov. 2022 That’s a rough comedown from the giddy highs of 2021 for crypto’s two bluechip currencies, but still a far cry from the post-2017 doldrums when Bitcoin traded below $4,000 and Ethereum could be had for $89. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 28 Nov. 2022 Despite the rough stuff, Bruins’ Nick Foligno is enjoying his net-front duty Stralman (eight games, 0-0—0, minus-3) has played well in a reserve role and would be a valuable asset to store at AHL Providence. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, 28 Nov. 2022 Thanks to Cyber Monday sales there are a few diamond-in-the-rough deals that are almost too good to be true. John Thompson, Men's Health, 28 Nov. 2022 This has been a rough few years for young men in hip-hop. August Brownstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 28 Nov. 2022 Extensive evidence collected at the scene So far, using the evidence collected at the scene and the trove of tips and interviews, investigators have been able to piece together a rough timeline and a map of the group’s final hours. Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN, 28 Nov. 2022 The reigning champion Rams and coach Sean McVay had another rough go, losing 26-10 to the Chiefs in Kansas City. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 28 Nov. 2022
Adverb
Corabi had the album’s rough-hewn artwork patterned after the essential Aerosmith concert album. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 5 Oct. 2022 The top is asymmetric and rough-edged, not to mention rent down the center. Maile Pingel, WSJ, 28 Sep. 2022 Takkenberg, who retains the rough-around-the-edges demeanor of an ex-cop, joked that van Ruitenbeek would probably excel despite never having played. Renee Dudley, ProPublica, 7 Sep. 2022 Just as Hoss brings her skills as a violinist to the part, young cellist Sophie Kauer adds authenticity in her impressive first acting role as the rough-edged but preternaturally poised Olga. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Sep. 2022 Simply twist the rough-dry tool attachment to activate the flyaway mode to smooth hair for a sleek finish. Katie Intner, Harper's BAZAAR, 21 June 2022 The interior is rich and inviting, sporting natural materials such as wood and rough-cut stone. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 21 July 2022 But instead of its wild side being inaccessible to most, this system’s rough-cut gem spins off an easy trail less than a mile from a trailhead and appeals to hikers with a sense of adventure, experience, and sturdy boots with good traction. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 31 Mar. 2022 Alex Borstein, who plays Susie Myerson, Midge’s rough-around-the-edges manager, also saw filming as a brief escape from the anxieties of the pandemic. Meg Donohue, Town & Country, 25 Feb. 2022
Noun
Then, on the Las Colinas Course 14th hole, TFA’s No. 1 player, Mi Li, plugged her tee shot in the rough of the tough par 4. Steve Gorches, Orlando Sentinel, 12 Nov. 2022 Part of the cache cut from the Lesotho Legend, a 910-carat rough, the trio of stones is free of inclusions and exhibits remarkable brilliance. Tanya Dukes, ELLE Decor, 26 Sep. 2022 Marx’s drive landed beneath a tree in the right rough. San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 July 2022 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 The left rough awaited him on No. 4 as well, as did a greenside bunker on No. 7. Tim Reynolds, ajc, 27 Feb. 2022
Verb
Instead, Lukashenko’s thuggish enforcers at GUBOPiK have a green light to rough up activists and target their families. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2022 Again, having been shut out of spring practice, this is our first chance to rough out some answers to those questions. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Aug. 2022 Hydro Flask Outdoor Kitchen Collection $20 – $75 THE PROMISE: Kitchenware that’s ready to rough it, but sleek enough for fancy backyard cookouts. Outside Online, 14 Aug. 2020 Last season, when the going to rough against the Bucks in the playoffs, the Heat wilted. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 Glamping is for those who don’t want to rough it too much but do want a close-to-camping-outdoors experience. Lois K. Solomon, Sun Sentinel, 2 June 2022 Last season, when the going to rough against the Bucks in the playoffs, the Heat wilted. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 While Taylor and her then-husband, actor Richard Burton, were filming on location in Mexico in the 1960s, Burton sent his bodyguards after Mr. Galella to rough him up and confiscate his film. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 Last season, when the going to rough against the Bucks in the playoffs, the Heat wilted. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

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

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1728, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rough was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near rough

Cite this Entry

“Rough.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rough. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

rough 1 of 4

adjective

1
a
: having an uneven surface : not smooth
b
: covered with or made up of coarse and often shaggy hair or bristles
a rough-coated terrier
2
a
: not calm
rough seas
b
: being harsh or violent
rough treatment
c
: difficult to take or deal with
we've had some rough times
3
a
: harsh to the ear
b
: coarse or rugged in nature or look
4
: not complete or exact
a rough draft
rough estimate
also : approximate entry 1
this will give you a rough idea of the house
roughish adjective
roughly adverb
roughness noun

rough

2 of 4

noun

1
: uneven ground covered with high grass, brush, and stones
2
: the rugged or unpleasant part of something
nature in the rough
3
: something in a crude or unfinished state
also : such a state
a diamond in the rough

rough

3 of 4

adverb

: in a rough way : not smoothly
the engine idled rough, but ran smoothly at high speed

rough

4 of 4

verb

1
2
: to handle roughly : beat
roughed up by hoodlums
3
: to shape or make in a rough way
rough out a plan
rough it
: to live without ordinary comforts

Medical Definition

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on rough

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