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From Middle English rough, rogh, roȝe, row, rou, ru, ruȝ, ruh, from Old English rūg, rūh, from Proto-Germanic *rūhaz. Cognate with Scots ruch, rouch (rough), Saterland Frisian ruuch, rouch (rough), West Frisian rûch (rough), Low German ruuch (rough), Dutch ruig (rough), German rau(h) (rough).



rough (comparative rougher, superlative roughest)

  1. Not smooth; uneven.
    • 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room Chapter 1
      The rock was one of those tremendously solid brown, or rather black, rocks which emerge from the sand like something primitive. Rough with crinkled limpet shells and sparsely strewn with locks of dry seaweed, a small boy has to stretch his legs far apart, and indeed to feel rather heroic, before he gets to the top.
  2. Approximate; hasty or careless; not finished.
    a rough estimate; a rough sketch of a building; a rough plan
  3. Turbulent.
    rough sea
    • 1927-29, M.K. Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, translated 1940 by Mahadev Desai, Part I, Chapter xii:
      With my mother's permission and blessings, I set off exultantly for Bombay, leaving my wife with a baby of a few months. But on arrival there, friends told my brother that the Indian Ocean was rough in June and July, and as this was my first voyage, I should not be allowed to sail until November.
  4. Difficult; trying.
    Being a teenager nowadays can be rough.
  5. Crude; unrefined.
    His manners are a bit rough, but he means well.
  6. Violent; not careful or subtle.
    This box has been through some rough handling.
  7. Loud and hoarse; offensive to the ear; harsh; grating.
    a rough tone; a rough voice
  8. Not polished; uncut; said of a gem.
    a rough diamond
  9. Harsh-tasting.
    rough wine
  10. (chiefly UK, colloquial, slang) Somewhat ill; sick.
  11. (chiefly UK, colloquial, slang) Unwell due to alcohol; hungover.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


rough (plural roughs)

  1. The unmowed part of a golf course.
  2. A rude fellow; a coarse bully; a rowdy.
    • 1898, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, page 124:
      In Wellington Street my brother met a couple of sturdy roughs, who had just rushed out of Fleet Street with still wet newspapers and staring placards. "Dreadful catastrophe!" they bawled one to the other down Wellington Street. "Fighting at Weybridge!"
  3. (cricket) A scuffed and roughened area of the pitch, where the bowler's feet fall, used as a target by spin bowlers because of its unpredictable bounce.
  4. The raw material from which faceted or cabochon gems are created.
  5. A quick sketch, similar to a thumbnail but larger and more detailed, used for artistic brainstorming.
  6. (obsolete) Boisterous weather.
    • 1633, Phineas Fletcher, Eclog 1. Amyntas:
      In calms you fish; in roughs use songs and dances.
  7. A piece inserted in a horseshoe to keep the animal from slipping.

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rough (third-person singular simple present roughs, present participle roughing, simple past and past participle roughed)

  1. To create in an approximate form.
    Rough in the shape first, then polish the details.
  2. (ice hockey) To commit the offense of roughing, i.e. to punch another player.
  3. To render rough; to roughen.
  4. To break in (a horse, etc.), especially for military purposes.
    • 1802, Charles James, A New and Enlarged Military Dictionary:
      To Rough Horses, a word in familiar use among the dragoons to signify the act of breaking in horses, so as to adapt them to military purposes.
  5. To endure primitive conditions.
    • 2013, Anne-Marie K. Kittiphanh, If Life Gave Me LEMONS, I Would Turn It into HONEY, →ISBN:
      I was able to help Trudy set up camp and everything else, of course there are different ways to camp the usual comfortable way or roughed we of course roughed it and I did my best to keep warm.
  6. (transitive) To roughen a horse's shoes to keep the animal from slipping.

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rough (comparative more rough, superlative most rough)

  1. In a rough manner; rudely; roughly.

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