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

Other Words from rough

Adjective

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

Verb

rougher noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rough

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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 Nora’s sister Libby insists on taking her on a month-long vacation to Sunshine Falls, a rustic town where Nora can find her own love story with a rough-and-tumble local (preferably a lumberjack). Usa Today Staff, USA TODAY, 7 May 2022 Primary day will bring to a close perhaps the most rough-and-tumble party primary in U.S. politics since the 2016 GOP presidential primary that Trump himself won. Fox News, 3 May 2022 Unlike most story ballets, which give the men about 45 seconds to showcase their skills, Marston’s terrific choreography is a spectacular blend of rough and tumble Americana and elegant ballet technique. Lauren Warnecke, Chicago Tribune, 28 Apr. 2022 Will space tourism profit and expand in low-Earth orbit while the rough and tumble exploration of space beyond the Moon continue to be carried out via robotics? Bruce Dorminey, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 Doe also examines matters of faith during a rough-and-tumble time that, in some ways, is not all that different from today. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Apr. 2022 Dense woods lined both sides of the twisty, two-lane road while rough and tumble hunting camps and a kitschy, roadside gift shop with a Bigfoot silhouette affixed to the door offered the only hints of human habitation. Gina Decaprio Vercesi, Travel + Leisure, 12 Apr. 2022 Perennial action hero Bruce Willis headlined the 1998 space movie, playing Harry S. Stamper, leader of the rough-and-tumble crew of newbie astronauts. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 8 Apr. 2022 Romney's corporate conservatism and rich man's ethos were fair game for the Obama campaign in rough and tumble politics a decade ago. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 6 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb But instead of its wild side being inaccessible to most, this system’s rough-cut gem spins off an easy trail less than a mile from a trailhead and appeals to hikers with a sense of adventure, experience, and sturdy boots with good traction. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 31 Mar. 2022 Alex Borstein, who plays Susie Myerson, Midge’s rough-around-the-edges manager, also saw filming as a brief escape from the anxieties of the pandemic. Meg Donohue, Town & Country, 25 Feb. 2022 At first, her encounters with De Casta’s Chief, a rough-talking teenage parking attendant, only reinforce her frosty disdain. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Jan. 2022 Playing on a field left rough and rutted by a weekend music event, Vancouver broke in front in the 15th minute on a counter-attack goal from Dájome, his 10th of the season. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2021 Hotel staff stayed on while the country mostly shut down, collaborating with rough-sleeping charities round the clock. Shafi Musaddique, The Christian Science Monitor, 17 Dec. 2021 Nevertheless, Mitch and Mike McLusky enjoy great respect in their working-class town and are definitely serving a need, as evidenced by the large (and rough-looking) crowd that fills their office waiting room. Lynette Rice, EW.com, 14 Nov. 2021 The game is a huge upgrade from the original’s rough-looking graphics. Washington Post, 24 May 2021 Six-inch rough-cut logs are $3.20 per lineal foot in Fairbanks. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 1 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 The left rough awaited him on No. 4 as well, as did a greenside bunker on No. 7. Tim Reynolds, ajc, 27 Feb. 2022 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 His wedge shot on No. 12, from the right rough, landed on the front of the green, rolled and rolled and rolled … and then disappeared into the hole for eagle, abruptly vaulting Homa one shot behind McNealy. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Sep. 2021 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. Dave Campbell, ajc, 25 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While Taylor and her then-husband, actor Richard Burton, were filming on location in Mexico in the 1960s, Burton sent his bodyguards after Mr. Galella to rough him up and confiscate his film. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 Last season, when the going to rough against the Bucks in the playoffs, the Heat wilted. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 Last season, when the going to rough against the Bucks in the playoffs, the Heat wilted. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 November 2018: Justin Hartley and Chrishell Stause escape to Alaska Just after their first wedding anniversary, Stause and Hartley broke out of their vacation comfort zone to rough it out in St. Elias National Park in Wrangell, Alaska. Jessica Sager, PEOPLE.com, 21 Apr. 2022 Last season, when the going to rough against the Bucks in the playoffs, the Heat wilted. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, 24 Mar. 2022 The ease of settling into an outdoor environment can benefit any type of recreationist, even someone who wants to rough it a bit. Joe Jackson, Outside Online, 28 Feb. 2022 The former president embraced violence as a political tactic from the earliest days of his 2016 campaign, egging on his supporters to rough up protesters who interrupted his rallies. Jill Colvin, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Nov. 2021 The former president embraced violence as a political tactic from the earliest days of his 2016 campaign, egging on his supporters to rough up protesters who interrupted his rallies. Jill Colvin, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About rough

Time Traveler for rough

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near rough

rouge vegetal

rough

roughage

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for rough

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rough.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rough. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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

More Definitions for rough

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, Harry Potter and the 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

More from Merriam-Webster on rough

Nglish: Translation of rough for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rough for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!