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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for toughen



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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 Somebody get all the officials together and tell them to toughen up their act. Bruce Jenkins,, "NBA’s long coronavirus layoff: a mixture of benefit and anxiety," 5 May 2020 Yes, that all sounds like marketing jargon, but these salon-level treatments, like the cult-favorite Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3, really do help toughen up and protect your hair. The Editors, Marie Claire, "How to Go Platinum Blonde Without Destroying Your Hair," 4 May 2020 By the time the legs, which consist of strong muscle fibers that take a long time to break down, are fall-apart tender, the delicate chicken breasts have gone too far, toughening up and drying out. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "The #1 Chicken Soup Mistake," 9 Jan. 2020 Climate Law | The Commission plans to review the bloc’s 2030 emissions-reduction target and may propose toughening it to remain at the forefront of fighting climate change, according to a draft law due to be unveiled tomorrow. Viktoria Dendrinou,, "Brussels Edition: Judgment Day for Spanish Banks," 8 May 2020 Even Singapore and Hong Kong have had to toughen some social distancing measures in recent weeks after a surge of cases, Lipsitch notes; Singapore’s social distancing regime is no longer very different from that in New York City or London. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "Ending coronavirus lockdowns will be a dangerous process of trial and error," 14 Apr. 2020 Conjuring beautiful horrors in our minds might toughen us all up for the ugly ones that materialize in daily life. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "This is what Billie Eilish sounds like in real life," 21 June 2019 That changed after Donald Trump became president as authorities toughened immigration enforcement. Niraj Warikoo, USA TODAY, "‘Every day I was praying’: Detroit dad deported after 30 years returns home to US," 11 Jan. 2020 Some executives were nervous about toughened enforcement of labor rights. Washington Post, "After feeling Trump’s wrath, Mexico breathes a sigh of relief at USMCA," 12 Dec. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of toughen

1582, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for toughen

Time Traveler

The first known use of toughen was in 1582

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Statistics for toughen

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Toughen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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How to pronounce toughen (audio)

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


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.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toughen

Spanish Central: Translation of toughen

Nglish: Translation of toughen for Spanish Speakers

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