Meaning of ROUGH in English

I. rough 1 S2 W3 /rʌf/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative rougher , superlative roughest )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ rough , the rough, ↑ roughage , ↑ roughness ; verb : ↑ rough , ↑ roughen ; adverb : ↑ rough , ↑ roughly ; adjective : ↑ rough ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: ruh ]

1 . NOT SMOOTH having an uneven surface OPP smooth :

Her hands were rough from hard work.

the rough terrain at the base of the mountains

We were bumping over the rough ground.

2 . NOT EXACT [usually before noun] not exact, not containing many details, or not in a final form SYN approximate :

a rough sketch of the house

a rough translation

Could you give me a rough idea what time you’ll be home?

a rough estimate of the cost

First do a rough draft of your essay.

3 . PROBLEMS/DIFFICULTIES a rough period is one in which you have a lot of problems or difficulties SYN tough :

The first year was rough, but things have gotten better.

Sounds like you had a rough day.

We’ve been through some rough times together.

My boyfriend and I were going through a rough patch.

The bill is in for a rough ride in the Senate.

It’s been rough going, but we’ve almost finished now.

4 . NOT GENTLE using force, anger, or violence OPP gentle :

Rugby is a very rough sport.

Don’t be too rough – she’s only little.

Paul gave her a rough shake.

equipment capable of withstanding rough treatment

The referee won’t allow any rough stuff (=violent behaviour) .

be rough on somebody (=treat someone unkindly or criticize them in an angry way)

Don’t you think you were a little rough on her?

5 . TOWN/AREA ETC a rough area is a place where there is a lot of violence or crime:

a rough part of town

6 . WEATHER/SEA with strong wind or storms OPP calm :

The ship went down in rough seas.


a) not sounding soft or gentle, and often rather unpleasant or angry:

Barton’s deep, rough voice

b) having an unpleasant sound, especially because there is something wrong with a machine:

The clutch sounds rough – better get it checked.

8 . SIMPLE/NOT WELL MADE simple and often not very well made:

a rough wooden table

9 . NOT COMFORTABLE uncomfortable, and with difficult conditions:

The journey was long and rough.

10 . have rough edges ( also be rough around the edges )

a) to have some parts that are not as good as they should be, but that are not a serious problem:

The team has a few rough edges, but they’re winning more games.

b) if a person is rough around the edges, they are not very polite, educated etc

11 . rough night a night when you did not sleep well:

Mickey had a rough night last night.

12 . a rough deal something that happens to you that is unfair or unpleasant:

He’s had a rough deal with his wife leaving him like that.

13 . feel rough British English informal to feel ill

14 . look rough British English informal to look untidy, dirty, or unhealthy:

After travelling for two days we must have looked pretty rough.

15 . rough and ready not perfect, but good enough for a particular purpose:

The tests are only a rough and ready guide to a pupil’s future development.

16 . rough justice punishment that is not decided in a court in the usual legal way, and that is often severe or unfair:

Gangs practise a kind of rough justice on their members.

—roughness noun [uncountable]

⇨ ↑ rough diamond , ↑ rough paper , ↑ roughly

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ nouns

▪ a rough day/week etc

He’s had a rough week at work.

▪ a rough time

My children had a rough time because they were different from the rest.

▪ a rough patch (=a difficult time that does not last long)

He was good at encouraging his team when it hit a rough patch.

▪ a rough ride (=a time when you are criticized, opposed etc)

She was given a rough ride by the press.


Though the President pushed the bill through the House of Representatives, it faces a rough ride in the Senate.

▪ rough going (=a difficult and unpleasant experience)

If there is a recession, next year will be very rough going.

• • •


▪ rough having a surface that is not flat or smooth:

rough ground


a rough mountain path


The walls were all rough.


Her hands were rough and work-hardened.

▪ uneven an uneven surface has areas that are not flat or not all at the same level:

The floor was uneven.


She climbed the uneven steps with great care.

▪ bumpy a bumpy road, path, or area of land has a lot of holes and raised parts in it:

the bumpy track down to the farm


The field was too bumpy to play football on.


a bumpy journey (=on a road that has a very rough surface)

▪ coarse having a rough surface that feels slightly hard – used especially about materials such as cloth or wool:

coarse woollen blankets


coarse grass


The wool felt rather coarse.

▪ rugged /ˈrʌɡəd, ˈrʌɡɪd/ land that is rugged is very rough and uneven and is often in a high place:

the rugged terrain near the mountains


▪ rough ground/sea/stone/skin

▪ uneven surface/floor/pavement

▪ bumpy road/field/journey

▪ coarse cloth/wool/paper/grass

▪ rugged terrain/mountain/landscape/coastline

II. rough 2 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ rough , the rough, ↑ roughage , ↑ roughness ; verb : ↑ rough , ↑ roughen ; adverb : ↑ rough , ↑ roughly ; adjective : ↑ rough ]

1 . the rough uneven ground with long grass on an area where people play golf OPP green

2 . take the rough with the smooth to accept the bad things in life as well as the good ones:

You have to learn to take the rough with the smooth.

3 . [countable] a picture drawn very quickly, not showing all the details SYN sketch :

a rough of the proposed housing development

4 . in rough British English if you write or draw something in rough, you do it without paying attention to details or tidiness, because you are going to do it again later:

It’s best to work in rough first, and then write it out neatly.

5 . a bit of rough British English informal someone from a lower social class than you, with whom you have a sexual relationship

⇨ ↑ diamond in the rough

III. rough 3 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ rough , the rough, ↑ roughage , ↑ roughness ; verb : ↑ rough , ↑ roughen ; adverb : ↑ rough , ↑ roughly ; adjective : ↑ rough ]

rough it informal to live for a short time in conditions that are not very comfortable:

I don’t mind roughing it for a while.

rough something ↔ out phrasal verb British English

to draw or write something without including all the details:

a diagram the engineer had roughed out on his notepad

rough somebody ↔ up phrasal verb

informal to attack someone and hurt them by hitting them

IV. rough 4 BrE AmE adverb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ rough , the rough, ↑ roughage , ↑ roughness ; verb : ↑ rough , ↑ roughen ; adverb : ↑ rough , ↑ roughly ; adjective : ↑ rough ]

1 . sleep rough British English to sleep outside with nothing to protect you from the weather, especially because you have no home to live in:

the number of people sleeping rough on the street

2 . play rough to play in a fairly violent way

⇨ cut up rough at ↑ cut 1 (6)

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.