tough cookie

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



tough cookie (plural tough cookies)

  1. (informal) A person who can endure physical or mental hardship; a hardened, strong-willed person.
    • 1973, "Ioannidis: Power in the Wings," Time, 10 December 1973:
      An austere, hard-lining rightist, who lives alone, Ioannidis is described by one Washington military official as "a real tough cookie."
    • 2002, Picabo Street (with Dana White), Picabo: Nothing to Hide, Contemporary Books (2002), →ISBN, page 6:
      I run to Micki and give her a hug. She was racing with a broken thumb — a tough cookie, just like me.
    • 2005, Liz Austin, "Miers had stormy tenure at Texas Lottery Commision," Spokesman-Review, 3 October 2005:
      "Although she's a small-framed woman, we all believed she came through the Marines and maybe ate nails for breakfast because she's one tough cookie," said Horace Taylor []
  2. (informal) A hardy, resilient animal or plant.
    • 2001, Sybille Engels, Basic Gardening: Everything You Need to Make Your Garden Grow, Silverback Books (2001), →ISBN, page 134:
      Boxwood is a pretty tough cookie. Wind, cold, wet, exhaust fumes, and industrial pollution are of no consequence.
    • 2006, "Katrina Cat", Jet, 13 March 2006
      Though its name is Cupcake, Tristan Carter's cat proved it was one tough cookie surviving on its own since Hurricane Katrina forced Carter to abandon it []
  3. (informal) Something troublesome or difficult to handle.
    • 2002, Encyclopedia of North American Sporting Dogs (ed. Steven Smith), Willow Creek Press (2002), →ISBN, page 63:
      The pup that struggles constantly might be one tough cookie when it comes to training; []