rough

adjective
\ ˈrəf How to pronounce rough (audio) \
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
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from rough

Adjective

roughish \ ˈrə-​fish How to pronounce roughish (audio) \ adjective
roughness \ ˈrəf-​nəs How to pronounce roughness (audio) \ noun

Verb

rougher noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rough

Synonyms: Adjective

bristly, brushy, cottony, fleecy, furred, furry, hairy, hirsute, shaggy, silky, unshorn, woolly (also wooly)

Antonyms: Adjective

bald, furless, glabrous, hairless, shorn, smooth

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But for the days when the seas are rough, our support system, including technology, is the rudder. Colleen Johnson, Woman's Day, "How My Veteran Husband Copes with His War Injuries," 19 May 2019 Iron Islands: Home to a naval fleet of warriors led by House Greyjoy, who son Theon was a ward of the Starks and has been through some rough times since then. John Carucci, The Seattle Times, "It’s not too late to dive into ‘Game of Thrones,’ with help," 13 Apr. 2019 Car makers have had a rough time with European politicians ever since Volkswagen’s diesel crisis turned the media spotlight on emissions. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Lobbying Is Dead, Says Lobbying Boss," 7 Mar. 2019 After a rough time following its last earnings report, Netflix shares are up 12 percent in after-hours trading, making back much of this fall’s stock-price decline. Dan Frommer, Recode, "How Netflix drives culture, in one chart," 16 Oct. 2018 Well, by his own account, Musk is having a rough time. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "This Week in Elon," 24 Aug. 2018 Those who are used to using Photoshop on a PC may have a rough time adjusting to the mobile experience as questions surrounding keyboard shortcuts, the trackpad/mouse experience, and Apple Pencil integration abound. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Adobe plans to bring full version of Photoshop to the iPad next year," 13 July 2018 The Turkish leader, who is accused by critics of adopting increasingly authoritarian tactics but is loved by supporters for bringing prosperity and stability, may be facing rough times ahead, however. Washington Post, "Turkey’s victorious Erdogan set to assume sweeping powers," 25 June 2018 Indeed, left alone on your skin, those things can definitely contribute to the development of acne and an overall dull, dry, or rough quality. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Can Any Skin-Care Products Actually 'Detox' Your Face?," 3 May 2019

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

The thick rye rough — which Woods hasn’t played out of in 12 months — didn’t cause many problems. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, "Tiger Woods seven back after a 72, but says 'It was fun to compete again'," 25 Jan. 2018 His lob wedge from a fluffy lie in the rough came out soft, short and in a bunker. Doug Ferguson, The Seattle Times, "Woods meets his match in Lucas Bjerregaard at Match Play," 31 Mar. 2019 The course features narrow fairways and penal rough, as well as green complexes that are guarded by bunkers aplenty and dense rough. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "Quicken Loans National Preview: History, Field, Odds, Predictions," 27 June 2018 But Facebook has had a particularly rough last 18 months. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Facebook reportedly used anti-Semitic attacks to discredit its critics," 15 Nov. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Notably, the pledge didn’t come until outside liberal groups had seriously roughed up Mr. Brown. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Elizabeth Warren’s Money Game," 3 Jan. 2019 Police later released video of another incident involving a 15-year-old robbery suspect who appeared to be roughed up after he was handcuffed. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Protesters rally at Mesa Police Department; call for change," 8 June 2018 Vegas’ Ryan Reaves was assessed a 10-minute misconduct penalty and two minutes for roughing for his role in a brawl late in the first period. Gideon Rubin, The Seattle Times, "Burns scores in OT, Sharks top Golden Knights 4-3," 30 Mar. 2019 While summer is the perfect season to get outside and enjoy nature, not everyone is comfortable roughing it. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "5 glamping destinations in the US for those who want to enjoy nature in complete comfort," 27 July 2018 The Heat kept trying to rough up the Sixers, who didn’t back down. Keith Pompey, Philly.com, "Sixers stick together in physical playoff series," 24 Apr. 2018 Some 63 journalists were roughed up, and 13 had their audio or video equipment destroyed. David Greenberg, WSJ, "A Half Century of ‘Liberal Media Bias’," 23 Aug. 2018 In the happy glow of the victory Sunday night, Carroll basically laughed off a question about the health of kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who fell hard to the turf when he was roughed on a field-goal attempt in the second quarter. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks ‘are working’ to keep Frank Clark, and more takeaways from Pete Carroll," 24 Dec. 2018 There were 34 roughing calls through the first three weeks and 19 in the three weeks since the call. Rob Maaddi, The Seattle Times, "NFL wants players to play with a free mind," 16 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rough

Statistics for rough

Last Updated

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rough

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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
somewhat informal : difficult or unpleasant to deal with

rough

adverb

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

: in a rough way
British : outside and without shelter

rough

noun

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

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
informal + old-fashioned : 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 How to pronounce rough (audio) \
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 How to pronounce rough (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on rough

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rough

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rough

Spanish Central: Translation of rough

Nglish: Translation of rough for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rough for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rough

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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