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 To toughen the law, Gonzalez added a provision that also allows public attorneys, including the state attorney general and city attorneys in large cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, to enforce its provisions. Dustin Gardiner,, "Gov. Newsom signs AB5, making gig-work reform bill law," 18 Sep. 2019 Previously progressive on drug policy, Rockefeller nurtured national ambitions, and sought to toughen his image by imposing harsh penalties for possession of even small quantities of drugs, including marijuana. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "Power of Attorney," 16 Sep. 2019 But Trump has resisted calls to toughen other gun control laws. Jonathan Lemire, Twin Cities, "Trump vows urgent action after shootings, offers few details," 6 Aug. 2019 House Bill 189, which seeks to toughen inspections and maintenance records, passed 88 to 6. Laura Hancock,, "Ohio House passes amusement ride safety bill Tyler’s Law," 5 June 2019 Last year's big jump came on news of Trump threatening to toughen sanctions on Iran. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Oil spikes nearly 15% on Saudi attack, heightened tensions with Iran," 16 Sep. 2019 The British government announced plans last year to significantly toughen its scrutiny of foreign takeovers, with a particular eye on those coming from China. New York Times, "A Hong Kong-London Stock Exchange Bid Ties 2 Cities in Turmoil," 11 Sep. 2019 On Monday China said the protests had reached a critical juncture, after a weekend of street clashes in which both police and protesters appeared to toughen their resolve. NBC News, "Hong Kong airport cancels all flights for second day amid protests," 13 Aug. 2019 The shooting killed 58 people, injured hundreds of others and spurred state officials to make new calls to toughen gun control measures. Fortune, "2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates to Focus on Gun Violence in October Forum," 1 Aug. 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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Statistics for toughen

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for toughen

The first known use of toughen was in 1582

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More Definitions for toughen


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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More from Merriam-Webster on toughen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for toughen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toughen

Spanish Central: Translation of toughen

Nglish: Translation of toughen for Spanish Speakers

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