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 Matthew McConaughey’s mother took a tough love approach to teaching her kids about the importance of gratitude. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 8 May 2024 Marty treated them with the tough love of a trainer. Stayton Bonner, Rolling Stone, 21 Apr. 2024 Marin brings tough love and ethnic wisdom to this mascot role. Armond White, National Review, 17 Apr. 2024 Fieri’s advice comes in the form of tough love, which makes sense for their brotherly relationship. Sabrina Weiss, Peoplemag, 12 Apr. 2024 Even if that is true, sometimes circumstances call for tough love. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2024 But Jason Dunbar, a broker and appraisal surveyor with Vessel Value Survey, recommended tough love to the brokers. Kevin Koenig, Robb Report, 19 Mar. 2024 Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes have been supportive parents to Jayson Tatum from high school and college basketball, all the way to the NBA Jayson Tatum cites tough love from his parents Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes as the reason for his success as an athlete today. Francesca Gariano, Peoplemag, 26 Feb. 2024 Where to watch Bye Bye Birdie: YouTube Credit: Everett Collection To Sir, With Love (1967) Sidney Poitier, playing a London schoolteacher, uses a combo of tough love and storytelling (and perhaps, his movie-star handsome looks) to win over a group of unruly students in To Sir, With Love. Debby Wolfinsohn,, 15 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tough love.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1968, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tough love was in 1968

Dictionary Entries Near tough love

Cite this Entry

“Tough love.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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