Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An uncouth person.
  • n. A rowdy.
  • n. A member of the crew of an oil rig other than the driller.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any labourer on an oil rig
  • n. A rowdy or uncouth person
  • v. To work as a laborer on an oil rig

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See the extract.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a cruel and brutal fellow

Etymologies

rough +‎ neck (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The name roughneck, which crews tend to embrace as a badge of honor, reflects the demanding and sometimes risky work that sustains them, and the cowboy mystique they bring from their hometowns in the South and West.

    theithacajournal.com -

  • In the first three or four he was pretty crude; he was even defined as a roughneck somewhere.

    Eco chamber: Is your favorite crime series a closed text?

  • Mr. Cornett has already taken a demotion from a driller to a "roughneck" oilfield slang for a floorman at a much lower salary to maintain a steady paycheck.

    Drilling Rules Shake-Up Puts New Regulator in Spotlight

  • Mallick ridicules the entire Palin family calling husband Todd a "roughneck," son Track "terrified," and pregnant teenage daughter Bristol a "pramface," whatever that means.

    Heather Mallick, CBC Columnist, Latest Palin Basher

  • An experienced "roughneck," the nickname for rig workers, can make $100,000 a year, and top white-collar engineers can make as much as $500,000 a year, industry analysts and officials said.

    Offshore Rig Workers Call the Shots

  • And, of course, the only person who can save us is a burly oil driller played by Bruce Willis and his team of fellow "roughneck" drillers including the ever-annoying Ben Affleck.

    FILMS: "Armageddon"... Not Quite Bust'in Up The Planet...

  • He was correct in every detail and he thought complacently that he could not but contrast favourably with the appearance of that "roughneck" from

    The Dude Wrangler

  • Similarly, I spent another summer working in the oil field as a "roughneck" for a company then partially owned by a young man just beginning his business career: George H.W. Bush.

    tcpalm.com Stories

  • • Michael Sarver, we all love saying the word "roughneck," so thank you for having a dangerous job with a name everyone enjoys discussing.

    Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily

  • Idol's "roughneck" contestant, after all, has other things to think about these days.

    TV Envy

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  • 'The rain had slackened to a drizzle. In the lights of headlamps the roughnecks were busy tearing canvas from the trucks. Stan threw his slicker over his shoulders, went around to open the rear doors of the truck. He crawled in and gently shook Pete by the ankle. "Pete, wake up. We're here. We've got to put up."'

    - Nightmare Alley, William Lindsay Gresham

    July 1, 2012