rough·​house | \ ˈrəf-ˌhau̇s How to pronounce roughhouse (audio) \

Definition of roughhouse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: violence or rough boisterous play


rough·​house | \ ˈrəf-ˌhau̇s How to pronounce roughhouse (audio) , -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

Noun their parents simply wouldn't tolerate any roughhouse in the living room Verb The kids were roughhousing in the living room.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Chewy orecchiette roughhouse with big hunks of sausage and broccolini, enrobed in a rich goat cheese fonduta. Dominic Armato, azcentral, 16 July 2019 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,, 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, 24 Aug. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Now, on the pool deck, the boys tussle and roughhouse with the zeal of Labrador puppies, slugging each other lovingly in the shoulders and then retreating with giggles like ninnies. Barrett Swanson, Harper's Magazine, 25 May 2021 From ABC News, video shows some bear cubs roughhousing at a wildlife park in South Dakota. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 22 May 2020 Three police recruits have resigned in the wake of internal affairs investigations into their roles in the serious injury of a fellow student during roughhousing in a dorm at the state’s basic training academy. oregonlive, 24 Apr. 2020 The boys cracked jokes, roughhoused and argued about who was the cutest girl in the shelter. Paulina Villegas, New York Times, 29 Oct. 2019 That summer, Boulger broke his arm while roughhousing with friends, forcing him out of the contact-heavy sports., 22 Sep. 2019 Family photos depict their father cuddling and roughhousing with this sons, and posing in front of a fire truck with a young Leonard. Anne Barnard, New York Times, 24 Sep. 2019 There are shots of children at play, on the beach, on a farm, or roughhousing in a schoolyard but the incidents related are like those from a nightmare or fairy tale. Peter Keough,, 21 Aug. 2019 Tilting down accomplished the opposite motion, and Max was quick to start roughhousing with his father, Dr. Ted Ng, landing a few light punches before reaching up and grabbing his dad’s nose. San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 June 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of roughhouse was in 1882

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Statistics for roughhouse

Cite this Entry

“Roughhouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for roughhouse



English Language Learners Definition of roughhouse

US, informal : to play in a rough and noisy way

More from Merriam-Webster on roughhouse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for roughhouse

Nglish: Translation of roughhouse for Spanish Speakers


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