\ ˈrəf How to pronounce rough (audio) \
rougher; roughest

Definition of rough

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : marked by inequalities, ridges, or projections on the surface : coarse
b : covered with or made up of coarse and often shaggy hair rough-coated collie — compare smooth, wirehaired
c(1) : having a broken, uneven, or bumpy surface rough terrain
(2) : difficult to travel through or penetrate : wild into the rough woods— P. B. Shelley
2a : turbulent, tempestuous rough seas
b(1) : characterized by harshness, violence, or force
(2) : presenting a challenge : difficult rough to deal with— R. M. McAlmon
3 : coarse or rugged in character or appearance: such as
a : harsh to the ear
b : crude in style or expression
d : marked by a lack of refinement or grace : uncouth
4a : crude, unfinished rough carpentry
b : executed or ventured hastily, tentatively, or imperfectly a rough draft rough estimate also : approximate a rough idea



Definition of rough (Entry 2 of 4)

2 British : without usual conveniences especially : without proper shelter become homeless and have to sleep rough London Times



Definition of rough (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : uneven ground covered with high grass, brush, and stones specifically : such ground bordering a golf fairway
2 : the rugged or disagreeable side or aspect hiking-camping admirers of nature in the rough— Eleanor Stirling
3a : something in a crude, unfinished, or preliminary state
b : broad outline : general terms the question … has been discussed in roughManchester Guardian Weekly
c : a hasty preliminary drawing or layout
4 : rowdy


roughed; roughing; roughs

Definition of rough (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : roughen
2a : to subject to abuse : manhandle, beat usually used with up
b : to subject to unnecessary and intentional violence in a sport a penalty for roughing the passer
c : shell sense 3 used with up was roughed up for six runs
3 : to calk or otherwise roughen (a horse's shoes) to prevent slipping
4a : to shape, make, or dress in a rough or preliminary way
b : to indicate the chief lines of rough out the structure of a building
rough it
: to live under harsh or primitive conditions

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Other Words from rough


roughish \ ˈrə-​fish How to pronounce rough (audio) \ adjective
roughness \ ˈrəf-​nəs How to pronounce rough (audio) \ noun


rougher noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rough

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for rough


rough, harsh, uneven, rugged, scabrous mean not smooth or even. rough implies points, bristles, ridges, or projections on the surface. a rough wooden board harsh implies a surface or texture distinctly unpleasant to the touch. a harsh fabric that chafes the skin uneven implies a lack of uniformity in height, breadth, or quality. an old house with uneven floors rugged implies irregularity or roughness of land surface and connotes difficulty of travel. a rugged landscape scabrous implies scaliness or prickliness of surface. a scabrous leaf

synonyms see in addition rude

Examples of rough in a Sentence

Adjective He trimmed the rough edge of the paper. We traveled over rough dirt roads. They hiked through rough terrain. We were a bit shaken from the plane's rough landing. He went through a rough patch after his divorce. They've hit a few rough spots in their marriage. Despite a rough start, the team won more games this season than last. Adverb The engine is running a little rough. Life has been treating her pretty rough. He plays rough with the dog. people living rough on the streets Noun He hit his drive into the rough. He showed me a few roughs of the new building. Verb He was called for roughing the kicker.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Both teams are using backup kickers, and if the forecast holds, the Colts’ Michael Badgley and the 49ers’ Joey Slye face a rough night trying to read the winds in field-goal situations. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Oct. 2021 The transition was rough, with just days between the handoff and residents reporting shortages of cots, water and other necessities at first. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Oct. 2021 Laz Diaz, who had a rough night behind the plate, called it a ball. Matt Young, Chron, 20 Oct. 2021 The 2010s were rough, as Detroit went championship-less in a decade for the first time since the 1970s. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, 7 Oct. 2021 Asian equities had a rough night with South Korea off hard less a few bright spots in Southeast Asia. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 The sea can be rough, so this is not recommended for travelers prone to seasickness. Kwin Mosby, Travel + Leisure, 2 Oct. 2021 That weekend, the surf near Kiritehere Beach was rough, and waves beat into the shoreline before a strong current pulled the water back out to sea in a rush. Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2021 The shipping line’s EBITDA ratio—a rough measure of how much revenue a company accounts for as profits—reached 43.2% last quarter, almost triple the margin in 2019. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, 30 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The game is a huge upgrade from the original’s rough-looking graphics. Washington Post, 24 May 2021 Six-inch rough-cut logs are $3.20 per lineal foot in Fairbanks. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 1 May 2021 Dyson advises you rough dry until your hair is damp to touch before swapping out the attachment for a brush or curling barrel — these other attachments will finish drying your damp strands. Nicole Saunders, NBC News, 13 Apr. 2021 They were headed to the Tacoma Narrows Airport near Gig Harbor, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation, when O’Brien radioed air traffic control in Portland to report the rough-running engine. Jessica Prokop, oregonlive, 30 Mar. 2021 That covered up a rough-looking sequence for Boston: newcomer Jarred Tinordi and Connor Clifton converging on Oshie … the Bruins in a bad line change, no one covered Richard Panik, who played give-and-go with Oshie … the latter tapped it home. Matt Porter,, 3 Mar. 2021 West’s music was sludgy and rough-edged, with growly vocals and squealing guitar solos. al, 24 Dec. 2020 In 2015 Lebedev and Johnson slept rough on the streets together to raise awareness for one of his papers’ charity appeals, which have raised millions for causes including elephants and homeless veterans. Simon Usborne, Town & Country, 21 Feb. 2021 West’s music was sludgy and rough-edged, with growly vocals and squealing guitar solos. al, 24 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His wedge shot on No. 12, from the right rough, landed on the front of the green, rolled and rolled and rolled … and then disappeared into the hole for eagle, abruptly vaulting Homa one shot behind McNealy. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Sep. 2021 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway., 26 July 2021 Champ managed to chip out onto the primary rough, then scoot up the fairway. Dave Campbell, ajc, 25 July 2021 Smoltz had four birdies and eight bogeys in a 76. With Del Negro in the middle of the fairway in the playoff, Smoltz hit a low drive behind large trees in the right rough., 12 July 2021 Koepka mis-hit a ball out of the green-high rough on 18 into a bunker right in front of him. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 June 2021 Ended up being in the rough there and not making birdie there. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 June 2021 Garcia drove into the right rough on the par-5 first hole and bogeyed. Dallas News, 30 May 2021 Midway through the round, Spieth had another recovery out of the right rough, almost as impressive as his final hole even though that was only a par., 30 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On Saturday, sidearm sensation Nestor Cortes Jr. squares off against Red Sox righty Nick Pivetta, who is the pitcher the Yankees need to rough up. Matthew Roberson,, 23 Sep. 2021 This wine demands your attention, from its deep garnet color to its winning combination of lively acidity and enough tannic structure to rough up the roof of your mouth. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 14 Aug. 2021 Ariana Grande is ready to rough it in the first video promo peek at her upcoming run as a coach on The Voice. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 27 July 2021 For the dog dad who likes to rough it (or ruff it...), this dog sized sleeping bag is the perfect gift. Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner, Forbes, 30 May 2021 The V60 Cross Country doesn’t ask its occupants to rough it. Jason Fogelson, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 When the Nuggets and Thunder tried to rough up Curry this week, Toscano-Anderson was the first to stick his nose into the scrum. Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Apr. 2021 Toss the potatoes around in the pot to rough up their outside layer. Meredith Deeds Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 24 Mar. 2021 At the plate: C Daulton Varsho (triple) and 1B Wyatt Mathisen (double) helped rough up Giants RHP Jimmie Sherfy, a former Diamondbacks reliever who gave up two runs in the fifth inning. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 9 Mar. 2021

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1728, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rough


Middle English, from Old English rūh; akin to Old High German rūh rough, Lithuanian raukas wrinkle

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Time Traveler for rough

Time Traveler

The first known use of rough was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near rough

rouge vegetal



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Statistics for rough

Last Updated

26 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rough.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for rough



English Language Learners Definition of rough

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: having a surface that is not even
: having or causing sudden, violent movements
: difficult or unpleasant to deal with



English Language Learners Definition of rough (Entry 2 of 4)

: in a rough way
: outside and without shelter



English Language Learners Definition of rough (Entry 3 of 4)

: an area on a golf course covered with tall grass that makes it difficult to hit the ball
: something (such as a drawing) that is done quickly and is not detailed or finished
: a person who is loud and violent



English Language Learners Definition of rough (Entry 4 of 4)

: to hit (a player) very hard in a way that is not allowed by the rules


\ ˈrəf How to pronounce rough (audio) \
rougher; roughest

Kids Definition of rough

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : uneven in surface rough tree bark a rough road
2 : having many bumps and jolts a rough ride
3 : not calm rough seas
4 : being harsh or violent rough treatment
5 : difficult or unpleasant to deal with "You're in for a rough night …"— J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
6 : coarse or rugged in nature or look a rough face
7 : having a harsh sound a rough voice
8 : not complete or exact a rough estimate a rough draft

Other Words from rough

roughly adverb
roughness noun



Kids Definition of rough (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : uneven ground covered with high grass, brush, and stones
2 : something in a crude or unfinished state It's not a finished drawing, just a rough.


roughed; roughing

Kids Definition of rough (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to handle violently : beat He was roughed up by bullies.
2 : to make or shape coarsely or unevenly
rough it
: to live without ordinary comforts We spent the summer roughing it in northern Maine.


\ ˈrəf How to pronounce rough (audio) \

Medical Definition of rough

: having a broken, uneven, or bumpy surface specifically : forming or being rough colonies usually made up of organisms that form chains or filaments and tend to marked decrease in capsule formation and virulence used of dissociated strains of bacteria — compare smooth

More from Merriam-Webster on rough

Nglish: Translation of rough for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rough for Arabic Speakers


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