tough·​ie ˈtə-fē How to pronounce toughie (audio)
variants or less commonly toughy
plural toughies
: one that is tough: such as
: a difficult problem or question
: a loud rough rowdy person

Example Sentences

The last question on the test was a toughie. He thinks he's a real toughie.
Recent Examples on the Web Extra time may be spent looking for that toughie that was present just a few days ago. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, 15 Dec. 2017 The surprises come from Rachel McAdams, who holds her own as a wise-cracking toughie, and Peña, who defrosts from macho pride mode with low-key grace. Hugh Hart, WIRED, 29 Oct. 2008 Another cold-weather toughie is Alaska's red flat bark beetle, which, under lab conditions, can survive cooling down to minus 238 degrees Fahrenheit. Liz Langley, National Geographic, 10 Dec. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'toughie.' 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

1921, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of toughie was in 1921

Dictionary Entries Near toughie

Cite this Entry

“Toughie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


tough·​ie ˈtəf-ē How to pronounce toughie (audio)
: a hard problem or question
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