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From Middle English roughnes, roughnesse, equivalent to rough +‎ -ness. Compare Old English hrēohnes (roughtness).


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roughness (countable and uncountable, plural roughnesses)

  1. The property of being rough, coarseness.
    The roughness of the road made me wonder if my car would fall apart.
  2. Something that is rough; a rough spot.
    • 2003, Klaus Bange, “Surfaces of Substrate Glasses”, in Thin Films on Glass, Springer Science & Business Media, page 101:
      A variety of suitable methods for surface inspection are available to detect topographical defects induced by surface roughnesses such as scratches, digs, inclusions and spatters.
  3. (US) Roughage; coarse fodder.
    • 1855, Southern Cultivator, volume 13, page 258:
      With this latter implement, the corn stalk fodder, shucks, oats, hay and other "roughness" may be finely cut up []
  4. (Scotland) Abundance, especially of food.
  5. (countable, engineering) A measure of how rough something is, such as a surface
    The surface roughness was low.

Derived terms[edit]