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

Placed under federal protection in Madea’s Southern home, a Wall Street banker and his dysfunctional family get a taste of the no-nonsense matriarch’s special brand of tough love. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 With no central authority willing or able to impose it, competitors across the pond received no such tough love. The Economist, "Deutsche Bank’s retreat ends European hopes of conquering Wall Street," 11 July 2019 Perot achieved it by defining his message as tough love, the blunt observations of a rich man who didn’t need political glory and was too impatient to pander. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Bitter medicine of Perot’s 1992 campaign wouldn’t sell today," 10 July 2019 Instead, this mainstay of the creative-writing program has more often been understood as a process of destruction, of tough love that tears you down to build you up. Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker, "What Does It Mean to Be a “Real” Writer?," 3 July 2019 Coaches offering constructive criticism, one-on-one tutorials to rookies and veterans, encouragement, and yes, even some tough love, is always apparent. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, "Jerod Mayo’s impressive return, and other minicamp takeaways," 11 June 2019 The family takes a vacation to a relative’s farm, where the neurotic city dog Max learns some lessons about tough love and bravery from a gruff cattle dog, Rooster (Harrison Ford). Katie Walsh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Dogs and cats stick to the formula in ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’," 6 June 2019 The family takes a vacation to a relative’s farm, where the neurotic city dog Max learns some lessons about tough love and bravery from a gruff cattle dog, Rooster (Harrison Ford). Katie Walsh, Twin Cities, "‘Secret Life of Pets 2’ adds babies and toddlers to lovable animal mix," 6 June 2019 When the orphaned children approach with questions, Sithole uses tough love and deflection: Eat this. Cara Anna, The Seattle Times, "‘It will get worse’: Perilous times for kids hit by cyclone," 26 Mar. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of tough love

1968, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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The first known use of tough love was in 1968

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More Definitions for tough love

tough love

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tough love

: love or concern that is expressed in a strict way especially to make someone behave responsibly

More from Merriam-Webster on tough love

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tough love

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