rough

adjective
\ˈrəf \
rougher; roughest

Definition of rough 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : 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

2a : 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

c : indelicate

d : marked by a lack of refinement or grace : uncouth

4a : crude, unfinished rough carpentry

b : executed or ventured hastily, tentatively, or imperfectly a rough draft rough estimate also : approximate a rough idea

rough

adverb

Definition of rough (Entry 2 of 4)

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

rough

noun

Definition of rough (Entry 3 of 4)

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

3a : 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

verb
roughed; roughing; roughs

Definition of rough (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : roughen

2a : 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

4a : 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 it

: to live under harsh or primitive conditions

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Other Words from rough

Adjective

roughish \ ˈrə-​fish \ adjective
roughness \ ˈrəf-​nəs \ noun

Verb

rougher noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rough

Synonyms: Adjective

austere, dour, fierce, flinty, forbidding, grim, gruff, intimidating, lowering (also louring), rugged, severe, stark, steely, stern, ungentle

Antonyms: Adjective

benign, benignant, gentle, mild, tender

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Choose the Right Synonym for rough

Adjective

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

McSally still has the lead, but with six weeks until the election there’s going to be a lot of rough road ahead. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Power Rankings: Not so peachy primaries," 9 July 2018 No commercial banks really operate here, and hauling physical cash over rough roads is time-consuming. Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "An Isolated Country Runs on Mobile Money," 8 July 2018 Several times, trash trucks have gotten stuck or blown their tires on the rough road. Claudia Vargas, Philly.com, "'Nightmare on Monroe Street': A tiny Queen Village block's six-year feud with the Philly Water Department," 6 July 2018 The engine is mounted with three pivot points, allowing the chassis to contort over rough roads. Casey Williams, chicagotribune.com, "Driving the Ford Model T through 110 years of American audacity," 3 July 2018 Our tester had a fairly smooth ride even on some slightly rough (potholed) roads, and the cabin was generally quiet. G. Chambers Williams Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Hyundai’s 2018 Ioniq Hybrid has starting price of $22,200," 1 July 2018 To reach the first two, follow Indian Road 34, a rough forest road also known as Sullivan Falls Road, west from Highway 55 north of Keshena. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Whitewater rafting on the Wolf River is a wild thrill," 14 June 2018 Currently, burn patients face an extremely rough road. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "This Handheld Device Could Print New Skin Onto Burn Victims," 30 May 2018 But the Latvian has had a rough road this season: Her record is just 12-12. Howard Fendrich, BostonGlobe.com, "Defending champ Jelena Ostapenko loses opener; Venus Williams ousted, too," 27 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

When Trump suggested that police rough up suspects, the crowd—and the uniformed officers sitting behind him on stage—applauded. David A. Graham, The Atlantic, "Trump's Vision of Lawless Order," 28 July 2017 Last night, Morris updated her Instagram story with a close-up shot of the engagement ring—a large, unique rough-cut diamond. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Maren Morris & Ryan Hurd Are Engaged—and Her Ring Is the Most Unique We've Ever Seen," 10 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Webb Simpson knocked his tee shot into the right rough on Thursday and needed three tries to get out of it; the first two combined for 15 yards before Simpson finally found the fairway and eventually accepted double bogey. Stephanie Apstein, SI.com, "Lengthened and Unforgiving, 14th Hole Is the Most Dreaded at Shinnecock Hills in U.S. Open," 15 June 2018 Once a year, golfers should be pushed to their limits in brutal conditions — yes, even on bone-dry greens, in crazy wind and with super-high roughs. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "Are you not entertained? The U.S. Open was an all-time classic," 18 June 2018 Woods was busy putting his tee shot in the right rough then being too aggressive with his approach. Michael Rosenberg, SI.com, "Unable to Avoid 'Others,' Tiger Woods Turned a 72 Into a 78 on Thurday at the U.S. Open," 14 June 2018 An onion, or maybe half an onion, peeled and rough chopped. Paula Forbes, GQ, "How to Make Salsa, the Party Food for Lazy People," 9 June 2018 Woods got to 8-under par for his round with back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12, but a wayward drive into some very thick rough led to his first bogey of the day at the par-4 14th and stalled his run at a course record. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "Tiger Woods made a furious charge up the leaderboard Saturday," 12 May 2018 Hole 10- Par 5: Par, E for day, E for tournament Tiger's drive went 330 yards but found the right rough and drew a less-than ideal line. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "Putting Woes Continue as Tiger Woods Shoots Two-Over 73 on Friday at Wells Fargo," 4 May 2018 Officials say the rough tides and murky water are interfering with their search, according to ABC 7. Beatrice Dupuy, Teen Vogue, "Devonte Hart, the Teen From a Viral Mike Brown Protest Photo, Is Still Missing," 3 Apr. 2018 The course is also long and the 2016 setup, in which tees were pushed back as far as possible and the rough was mowed to cater to the U.S.' big-hitters, should serve as a template for future Ryder Cups on American soil. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "FORE Questions: Bubba Cruises to Victory, JT's Quest for Number One on Hold, Tony Romo Finishes Last," 26 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But their reimagining of the tune makes it their own, roughing up all the smoothness of the original. Chuck Arnold, Billboard, "The Rolling Stones' 'Some Girls': 40 Years Ago, the Rockers Unleashed Their Last Perfect Album," 9 June 2018 The Horned Frogs roughed him up for three runs - two unearned because of a throwing error by shortstop David Hamilton - in a 34-pitch first inning. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Clemens’ game-winning homer lifts Texas over TCU," 18 May 2018 On the strength of the Saladino and Aguilar homers, Milwaukee appeared to have the game in hand heading to the seventh when Atlanta quickly roughed up Jacob Barnes. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 5, Braves 4: A big third inning and a nice start for Freddy Peralta are enough," 6 July 2018 When his mother remarried, her new husband's son roughed up and choked the then adolescent Don. Julia Ioffe, GQ, "The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr.," 21 June 2018 The tipping point was when retirees, demonstrating on April 18 against a social-security reform decreed by Mr. Ortega, were roughed up by thugs while police watched. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Russia in Central America, Again," 8 July 2018 Short hops Right-hander Shelby Miller was roughed up in his rehab start on Sunday evening for Double-A Jackson, giving up eight runs on nine hits and two walks in three innings. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Zack Godley gets back on track as Diamondbacks finish sweep," 10 June 2018 Koch entered the game with a 2.43 ERA but was roughed up for nine hits and eight runs in only 4 1/3 innings, exiting with a 4.06 ERA. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 8, Diamondbacks 2: Early long balls lead the way to a series victory," 16 May 2018 Snell rebounded after getting roughed up for five runs in 3 1/3 innings by the New York Yankees last Wednesday. Matt Carlson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Blake Snell's gem helps Rays top White Sox 6-5," 10 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of rough

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

History and Etymology for rough

Adjective

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

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Statistics for rough

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rough

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

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More Definitions for rough

rough

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of rough

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: having a surface that is not even

: having or causing sudden, violent movements

: difficult or unpleasant to deal with

rough

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of rough (Entry 2 of 4)

: in a rough way

: outside and without shelter

rough

noun

English Language Learners Definition of rough (Entry 3 of 4)

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

English Language Learners Definition of rough (Entry 4 of 4)

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

rough

adjective
\ˈrəf \
rougher; roughest

Kids Definition of rough

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

Other Words from rough

roughly adverb
roughness noun

rough

noun

Kids Definition of rough (Entry 2 of 3)

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.

rough

verb
roughed; roughing

Kids Definition of rough (Entry 3 of 3)

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.

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

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