rough·​en | \ ˈrə-fən How to pronounce roughen (audio) \
roughened; roughening\ ˈrə-​fə-​niŋ How to pronounce roughen (audio) , ˈrəf-​niŋ \

Definition of roughen

transitive verb

: to make rough or rougher her hands were roughened by work— Ellen Glasgow

intransitive verb

: to become rough

Examples of roughen in a Sentence

Roughen the surface with a file before you apply the glue. Her hands were roughened by years of hard work. Age caused his skin to roughen.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web This will roughen up the paneling’s glossy surface, so the primer will adhere better. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Successfully Paint Any Wall in Your House," 18 Dec. 2020 Prine sang his conversational lyrics in a voice roughened by a hard-luck life, particularly after throat cancer left him with a disfigured jaw. NBC News, "John Prine, country, folk legend, dies of coronavirus at age 73," 8 Apr. 2020 Winner of a lifetime achievement Grammy earlier this year, Prine sang his conversational lyrics in a voice roughened by a difficult life, particularly after throat cancer left him with a disfigured jaw. CBS News, "Coronavirus updates: U.S. death toll tops 14,000 as New York reports deadliest day," 8 Apr. 2020 Like many of his contemporaries, Mr. Caballero prefers a shorter soak, just long enough to infiltrate the seafood and slightly roughen its slippery texture. Pete Wells, New York Times, "Life at Caleta 111 Revolves Around Limes and Tiger’s Milk," 18 Feb. 2020 But as cases make their way to court, the legal road for proving age discrimination, always difficult, has only roughened. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, "New Evidence of Age Bias in Hiring, and a Push to Fight It," 7 June 2019 Upgrade Your Kitchen Step 1: Sand the backsplash wall with 80-grit sandpaper; both thinset and tile mastic will adhere better to a roughened surface. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Your Quick and Dirty Guide to Tiling a Kitchen Backsplash," 26 Apr. 2019 This will roughen your hair up in just the right way. Devin Toth, Redbook, "How to Get Sexy Hair for Valentine's Day," 13 Feb. 2012 Distinctive patches of raised, roughened skin cover each right whale’s head — allowing researchers to identify individual animals. Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post, "These whales will be extinct in 25 years, scientists say — unless we act now to save them," 20 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of roughen

1582, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about roughen

Time Traveler for roughen

Time Traveler

The first known use of roughen was in 1582

See more words from the same year

Statistics for roughen

Cite this Entry

“Roughen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for roughen



English Language Learners Definition of roughen

: to become rough or cause (something) to become rough


rough·​en | \ ˈrə-fən How to pronounce roughen (audio) \
roughened; roughening

Kids Definition of roughen

: to make or become rough

Comments on roughen

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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