toughen

verb
tough·​en | \ ˈtə-fən How to pronounce toughen (audio) \
toughened; toughening\ ˈtə-​fə-​niŋ How to pronounce toughening (audio) , ˈtəf-​niŋ \

Definition of toughen

intransitive verb

: to become tough

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for toughen

Synonyms

beef (up), fortify, harden, strengthen

Antonyms

debilitate, enervate, enfeeble, weaken

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of toughen in a Sentence

The government is toughening antidrug laws. weight lifting will help toughen those flabby muscles of yours

Recent Examples on the Web

Sutton has proposed toughening lobbying and self-dealing laws, creating a stronger state ethics commission and working to make government documents such as emails, correspondence and calendars public records under South Dakota law. James Nord, The Seattle Times, "Democrat to debate with rare shot at governor’s race win," 22 Oct. 2018 Newsom pushed for a statewide initiative to toughen California gun laws and supported a measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Phil Willon, latimes.com, "Meet John Cox and Gavin Newsom, the candidates for California governor," 10 June 2018 In Hungary, Orban put up two rows of razor-wire fences on the country’s southern borders and toughened immigration laws, drawing fierce criticism from EU officials. Washington Post, "Anti-immigrant party set to make gains in Slovenia vote," 1 June 2018 In 2014 Canada enacted a law to give customs officers more power to detain shipments and toughened sanctions against people who violate copyrights and trademarks. The Economist, "Canada coddles counterfeiters," 24 Feb. 2018 Interpol’s rules prohibit the use of police notices for political reasons, and the agency has toughened rules to enforce that. Angela Charlton, The Seattle Times, "Interpol’s flaws exposed in US-Russia fight over presidency," 21 Nov. 2018 Relatives of the two Boston firefighters who lost their lives fighting a Back Bay blaze in 2014 will testify on Beacon Hill Wednesday as officials consider toughening state law with the hopes of avoiding such a tragedy in the future. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "Relatives of two Boston firefighters killed in Back Bay blaze to testify on ‘hot work’ bill on Beacon Hill," 11 July 2018 Germany's governing parties have agreed to toughen rules on family reunions for some asylum-seekers, ruling out such reunions for former extremists who have given up their beliefs. Fox News, "German government to toughen migrant family reunion rules," 17 May 2018 The toughening regulatory environment, particularly for crossborder deals, could extend the slowdown in $10 billion-plus transactions, some bankers say. Ben Dummett, WSJ, "European M&A Loses Pace With Drop in Mega Deals," 30 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'toughen.' 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 toughen

1582, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about toughen

Statistics for toughen

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for toughen

The first known use of toughen was in 1582

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for toughen

toughen

verb

English Language Learners Definition of toughen

: to make (something) stricter or to become stricter
: to make (someone) physically or emotionally stronger or to become physically or emotionally stronger

toughen

verb
tough·​en | \ ˈtə-fən How to pronounce toughen (audio) \
toughened; toughening

Kids Definition of toughen

: to make or become tough Going barefoot toughened my feet.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on toughen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toughen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for toughen

Spanish Central: Translation of toughen

Nglish: Translation of toughen for Spanish Speakers

Comments on toughen

What made you want to look up toughen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!