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 woodsP. B. Shelley
2
a
: turbulent, tempestuous
rough seas
b(1)
: characterized by harshness, violence, or force
(2)
: presenting a challenge : difficult
rough to deal withR. 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 roughEleanor Stirling
3
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
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

Examples of rough in a Sentence

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The chicken chain has experienced rough patches in recent years. Sandra McDonald, Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2024 The famous Hellenistic-era Kyrenia ship was rough 14m long and made of wood and lead sheathing which Manning says they might have been added later in the ship’s lifetime. Shubhangi Dua, Interesting Engineering, 26 June 2024
Adverb
His own house in Fire Island Pines, built in 1961, was a single rectangle of about 600 square feet constructed from rough-cut cedar. Fred A. Bernstein, New York Times, 2 Nov. 2022 What is verifiably true is that, unlike the hulking, rough-faced cast iron we’re used to today, these elder vessels are almost unbearably wonderful, made from a thinner cast and consequently lighter weight, with surfaces that are satin smooth. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2021
Noun
There were a number of factors for the high scores, including tough pin placements and thick rough that was soaked during a storm Monday that overwhelmed parts of the city. Bernie Wilson, USA TODAY, 27 Jan. 2024 Some even get out on the North and South courses for a glimpse of the grounds, including — gulp — Torrey’s infamous rough. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Jan. 2024
Verb
There are no cabins or RV stations here—Providence Canyon State Park is ideal for those who prefer to rough it. Ariel Felton, Condé Nast Traveler, 25 Apr. 2023 Forget about roughing it, and instead experience stylish interiors with complimentary coffee and a soft cooler, among other amenities. Mindy Sink, The Denver Post, 24 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for rough 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rough.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 13 Jul. 2024.

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

Medical Definition

rough

adjective
: 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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