tough love

noun

Definition of tough love

: love or affectionate concern expressed in a stern or unsentimental manner (as through discipline) especially to promote responsible behavior

Examples of tough love in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The contestants and their tough love mentors grow and change as each episode progresses, supporting, encouraging and offering a shoulder to cry on. Emily Smith, EW.com, 9 July 2022 The trenchant comedy is a tough love letter to their native Bay Area, about two best friends navigating gentrification, police brutality and a shifting sense of belonging. Naveen Kumar, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 June 2022 When Phoebe is drowning in the consequences of, say, a nip slip on Instagram Live, Malika is always on the next train over, ready to provide an open ear and tough love in equal measure. Selome Hailu, Variety, 14 July 2022 Scared and snapping at our attempts at rescue, this mini-pinscher had to be rangled with a blanket and tough love. cleveland, 7 June 2022 The group even received praise from judge Simon Cowell, who's known for delivering tough love to contestants. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 1 June 2022 Late last year, San Francisco Mayor London Breed promised to bring tough love to the troubled Tenderloin. Gwendolyn Wu, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Apr. 2022 Hopelessly entitled or simply in need of tough love? Rodney Ho, ajc, 20 June 2022 One may peruse in vain volumes of famous quotations and find precious little in praise of Ireland by its own most famous authors, whose sad, tough love for their native land was always being crashed on the rocks of history. John Mariani, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tough love.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tough love

1968, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About tough love

Time Traveler for tough love

Time Traveler

The first known use of tough love was in 1968

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near tough love

toughish

tough love

tough luck

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for tough love

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tough love.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tough%20love. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!