rough·​house | \ˈrəf-ˌhau̇s \

Definition of roughhouse 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: violence or rough boisterous play


rough·​house | \ˈrəf-ˌhau̇s, -ˌhau̇z\
roughhoused; roughhousing

Definition of roughhouse (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to treat in a boisterously rough manner

intransitive verb

: to engage in roughhouse

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Examples of roughhouse in a Sentence


their parents simply wouldn't tolerate any roughhouse in the living room


The kids were roughhousing in the living room.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In one such glimpse of sublimity, a group of young Native American rodeo riders drink beer, roughhouse, and sing songs in the immensity of the Badlands surrounding the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in South Dakota. Peter Keough,, "‘The Rider’: What cinema is capable of at its best," 25 Apr. 2018 There’s also a chance McGregor flusters him with the same kind of roughhouse tactics that worked for Marcos Maidana in their first fight. Tim Dahlberg, The Seattle Times, "Floyd Mayweather is money, and this should be easy money," 24 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nutmeg, a 4-year-old mother red panda, and her cub, 6-month-old Jackie, can be seen in the video playfully swatting and roughhousing with each other. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, "Mama and baby red panda make debut at National Zoo," 26 Jan. 2018 But that defeat–to a tough, plodding, roughhousing opponent who came in overweight and utilized what could fairly be described as questionable tactics–only underscored the importance of Lomachenko’s footwork. Greg Bishop,, "Vasiliy Lomachenko's Rise to Boxing's Upper Echelon Began in Dance Classes Growing Up in Ukraine," 9 May 2018 The roughhousing ranges from Lopez putting wrestling holds on opposing mascots to battling them with Star Wars light sabers or even hitting them on the head with poster boards. David Blank, CNN, "Why does the NBA's Robin Lopez keep fighting with team mascots?," 12 Apr. 2018 At first, everything’s lovingly quirky — Bear smoking his pipe in the cramped studio, roughhousing with Pinch; Natalie neglecting her pottery to accommodate Bear’s manic fits of creativity. Don Oldenburg, USA TODAY, "'The Italian Teacher': Tom Rachman's portrait of an artist and his son is picture-perfect," 20 Mar. 2018 The Pilot Rock second-grader rode his bike, scarfed down molasses cookies after school and roughhoused with his three step-brothers. CBS News, "Oregon boy, 8, dies from flesh-eating bacteria," 26 Jan. 2018 Many of the children remember playing catch, joking and roughhousing with him. Maria Torres, kansascity, "A year after his death, Yordano Ventura’s unsettled affairs still linger," 21 Jan. 2018 Their favorite moments are the unscripted ones after 9 p.m., shut-off time for electronic devices, when the whole gang tumbles into the living room, roughhousing, giggling, asking questions, talking — as families do — about nothing and everything. Anndee Hochman,, "The Parent Trip: Jim Guyon and José Lugo of Williamstown," 13 Sep. 2017 This was the place where my brother accidentally gave me a bloody nose roughhousing one day. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: One last look at the home where I grew up," 11 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'roughhouse.' 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 roughhouse


1882, in the meaning defined above


1898, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for roughhouse

The first known use of roughhouse was in 1882

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More Definitions for roughhouse



English Language Learners Definition of roughhouse

: to play in a rough and noisy way

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More from Merriam-Webster on roughhouse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with roughhouse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for roughhouse

Nglish: Translation of roughhouse for Spanish Speakers

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amusing and light sparring with words

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