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 roughLondon 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

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 upwas 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

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 Working over wet paint could leave rough spots, bubbles or holes in the finish, which wouldn’t do as much to protect or enhance the appearance of your car. Paul Wright, Popular Mechanics, "How to Repair Car Paint Chips," 13 Nov. 2020 The storm, which whipped across Florida, is bringing gusty winds, rain, rough surf and high waves before heading further into the Atlantic. Janice Dean, Fox News, "At least 7 dead, 2 missing in North Carolina flash floods," 13 Nov. 2020 The effect of the carpet may be negligible in very rough seas, for instance, and ships have to be traveling quickly to maintain the flow of bubbles. Chris Baraniuk, Smithsonian Magazine, "Tiny Bubbles Under a Ship May Be the Secret to Reducing Fuel Consumption," 13 Nov. 2020 As the youngest of six children and being very tall, Tako remembers some rough times when other children would tease or taunt him. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "Author Stephen Tako’s hairy blue character helps children learn to cope and care," 12 Nov. 2020 Outside of 2015 when Greg Felux guided McCollum to a 5-6 record and a playoff spot, it's been a rough run that includes a pair of 0-10 seasons. David Hinojosa, ExpressNews.com, "McCollum football set to finally play after delay due to COVID-19," 12 Nov. 2020 Trump is threatening to break up, but Fox has been through plenty of these rough patches before. Brian Stelter, CNN, "The Trump-Fox News relationship is coming to a head. Here's what might be coming next," 12 Nov. 2020 Even as Book worked through a rough stretch of play last season, Kelly was adamant in sticking with Book after the 45-15 loss to Michigan. Tyler James, The Indianapolis Star, "Former Notre Dame QB Phil Jurkovec putting his own brand on Boston College's offense," 12 Nov. 2020 That’s why at Snake & Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge in East Carrollton, a legendary dive with the dimensions and rough aesthetics of a tool shed, proprietor David Clements is still in wait-and-see mode. Ian Mcnulty | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "As New Orleans bars reopen, classic Uptown dive Ms. Mae’s starts new chapter," 11 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb In a breathtaking performance Sunday at Winged Foot, on a course so demanding no one else broke par, DeChambeau blasted away with his driver and had short irons from the ankle-deep rough on his way to a 3-under 67. Doug Ferguson, Houston Chronicle, "Bryson DeChambeau blasts way to U.S. Open title," 20 Sep. 2020 In a breathtaking performance Sunday at Winged Foot, on a course so demanding no one else broke par, DeChambeau blasted away with his driver and had short irons from the ankle-deep rough on his way to a 3-under 67. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Bryson DeChambeau wins U.S. Open; Utahn Tony Finau ties for 8th place," 20 Sep. 2020 An edger sander is your best bet for rough-sanding tight spots (like corners) and smaller spaces (like a closet), while a random orbital sander is recommended for non-professionals tackling the refinishing of a larger space on their own. Sarah Baird, Good Housekeeping, "Refinishing," 14 Sep. 2020 An edger sander is your best bet for rough-sanding tight spots (like corners) and smaller spaces (like a closet), while a random orbital sander is recommended for non-professionals tackling the refinishing of a larger space on their own. Sarah Baird, House Beautiful, "Refinishing," 14 Sep. 2020 Soon after, the movie's rather rough-looking cast of characters is all introduced. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Devil All The Time' Trailer: Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson Lead Town of Sinners in Backwoods Ohio," 13 Aug. 2020 His languid acerbic wit and genteel sophistication are the perfect foil to Carell's tightly wound, rough-around-the-edges, everything-by-the-book general, who feels deeply but keeps those feelings bottled up, as a good soldier should. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "The Ars verdict is in: Space Force is the best new series of 2020 (so far)," 29 May 2020 Walls and decorative transom windows above doors were covered in rough-cut plywood. oregonlive, "Airbnb owner to sell beloved Portland Victorian: ‘A beautiful space to spark imagination’," 1 June 2020 Most are sleeping rough, either full-time or intermittently. The Economist, "No crib for a bed On any one winter night, around 5,000 people in Britain sleep rough," 18 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On Friday, DeChambeau smashed a shot that landed about 20 yards short of its green and just left of the fairway in some high rough. Bill Pennington, New York Times, "Bryson DeChambeau’s Ball Search Pushes Him Out of Masters Hunt," 13 Nov. 2020 That’s where a lot of those guys that shine as diamonds in the rough really come through. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NFL training camp limitations leave many rookies, coaching staffs in tough spot," 15 Aug. 2020 On the drivable par-4 No. 16, for example, his tee shot with a 3-wood went into the right rough. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Tony Finau’s 66 gives him a tie for fourth place in the PGA Championship," 10 Aug. 2020 Friday, Rory McIlroy drove into the right rough and, with no galleries and very few spotters and marshals, the ball disappeared, lost. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Cool, gray city of golf: Harding Park, SF put on a show for PGA Championship," 8 Aug. 2020 Or, use a knotty rough-sawn cedar and dispense with careful adjustments to produce a rustic planter well suited to life outdoors. Thomas Klenck, Popular Mechanics, "How To Build You Own Cedar Planter Box," 20 June 2020 Whereas the Rubicon excels at methodically navigating rocks and trails, the Mojave has been fortified to charge through the wide-open rough at greater speeds. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave Leads Jeep to a New Sandbox," 17 Apr. 2020 The crowd in the evening was very different in character to the ordinary one owing to the presence of roughs, who as usual congregated rapidly in view of there being further disturbances. New York Times, "1895: London Stockbrokers Appear in Court," 21 Mar. 2020 Playing the sixth hole, Thomas’ tee shot landed in the right rough, where some tree branches blocked his path to the green. John Davis, azcentral, "Justin Thomas has another close encounter with a tree at the Phoenix Open," 31 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Malik Jefferson isn’t good enough to rough the kicker. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Nick Canepa’s Chargers report card: vs. Raiders," 8 Nov. 2020 To rough out a personality profile, or profiles, the research team measured which facets of personality were most strongly correlated to higher levels of susceptibility to conspiracy beliefs. Benedict Carey, New York Times, "A Theory About Conspiracy Theories," 28 Sep. 2020 In this time of COVID, though, players and families must rough it in different ways. Dallas News, "As PGA Tour makes its return at Colonial, players are taking precautions to remain virus-free," 9 June 2020 Higuera came through with seven shutout innings while Stanley was roughed up for nine hits and three runs in 4⅔ frames. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A recap of all 50 season openers for the Brewers," 25 Mar. 2020 The Nationals roughed up Jack Flaherty for four runs, all in the third inning; the Cardinals' 23-year-old starter hadn't allowed that many in a game since July 2, a span of 18 appearances. Howard Fendrich, chicagotribune.com, "Nationals are 1 win from the World Series after topping the Cardinals 8-1 behind Stephen Strasburg’s 12 strikeouts," 14 Oct. 2019 Gandhi was shocked when he was thrown out of train cars, roughed up for using public walkways, and segregated from European passengers on a stagecoach. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "How Mahatma Gandhi changed political protest," 27 Sep. 2019 Chara earned a double-minor for roughing, Myers a single shot. Matt Porter, BostonGlobe.com, "Canucks take advantage of road-weary Bruins and other observations," 23 Feb. 2020 Clamp on the lid and, with mitts or folded kitchen towels on your hands for protection, give the whole thing a shake up, down and all around to rough up the potato outsides. Los Angeles Times, "How to Boil Water: Perfect English roast potatoes," 8 Apr. 2020

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

Time Traveler for rough

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for rough

Last Updated

18 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rough.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rough. Accessed 23 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rough

rough

adjective
How to pronounce rough (audio)

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

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!