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

  • adj. Having a surface marked by irregularities, protuberances, or ridges; not smooth.
  • adj. Coarse or shaggy to the touch: a rough scratchy blanket.
  • adj. Difficult to travel over or through: the rough terrain of the highlands.
  • adj. Characterized by violent motion; turbulent: rough waters.
  • adj. Difficult to endure or live through, especially because of harsh or inclement weather: a rough winter.
  • adj. Unpleasant or difficult: had a rough time during the exam.
  • adj. Boisterous, unruly, uncouth, or rowdy: ran with a rough crowd.
  • adj. Lacking polish or finesse: rough manners.
  • adj. Characterized by carelessness or force, as in manipulating: broke the crystal through rough handling.
  • adj. Harsh to the ear: a rough raspy sound.
  • adj. Being in a natural state: rough diamonds.
  • adj. Not perfected, completed, or fully detailed: a rough drawing; rough carpentry.
  • n. Rugged overgrown terrain.
  • n. Sports The part of a golf course left unmowed and uncultivated.
  • n. The difficult or disagreeable aspect, part, or side: observed politics in the rough when working as an intern on Capitol Hill.
  • n. Something in an unfinished or hastily worked-out state.
  • n. A crude unmannered person; a rowdy.
  • transitive v. To treat roughly or with physical violence: roughed up his opponent.
  • transitive v. Sports To treat (an opposing player) with unnecessary roughness, often in violation of the rules: was ejected from the game for roughing the passer.
  • transitive v. To prepare or indicate in an unfinished form: rough out a house plan.
  • adv. In a rough manner; roughly: The engine began to run rough and faltered.
  • idiom rough it To live without the usual comforts and conveniences: roughed it in a small hunting shack.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having a texture that has much friction. Not smooth; uneven.
  • adj. Approximate.
  • adj. Turbulent.
  • adj. Difficult; trying.
  • adj. Crude; unrefined
  • adj. Violent; not careful or subtle
  • n. The unmowed part of a golf course.
  • n. A crude person.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The raw material from which faceted or cabochon gems are created.
  • n. A quick sketch, similar to a thumbnail, but larger and more detailed. Meant for artistic brainstorming and a vital step in the design process.
  • v. To create in an approximate form.
  • v. To physically assault someone in retribution.
  • v. To commit the offense of roughing, i.e. to punch another player.
  • v. To render rough; to roughen.
  • v. To break in (a horse, etc.), especially for military purposes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having inequalities, small ridges, or points, on the surface; not smooth or plain.
  • adj. Not level; having a broken surface; uneven; -- said of a piece of land, or of a road.
  • adj. Not polished; uncut; -- said of a gem.
  • adj. Tossed in waves; boisterous; high; -- said of a sea or other piece of water.
  • adj. Marked by coarseness; shaggy; ragged; disordered; -- said of dress, appearance, or the like.
  • adj. Hence, figuratively, lacking refinement, gentleness, or polish.
  • adj. Not courteous or kind; harsh; rude; uncivil.
  • adj. Marked by severity or violence; harsh; hard.
  • adj. Loud and hoarse; offensive to the ear; harsh; grating; -- said of sound, voice, and the like.
  • adj. Austere; harsh to the taste.
  • adj. Tempestuous; boisterous; stormy.
  • adj. Hastily or carelessly done; wanting finish; incomplete.
  • adv. In a rough manner; rudely; roughly.
  • n. Boisterous weather.
  • n. A rude fellow; a coarse bully; a rowdy.
  • transitive v. To render rough; to roughen.
  • transitive v. To break in, as a horse, especially for military purposes.
  • transitive v. To cut or make in a hasty, rough manner; -- with out.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not smooth to the touch or to the sight; uneven, from projections, ridges, wrinkles, or the like; broken in outline or continuity by protruding points or lines, irregularities, or obstructions; shaggy: as, a rough surface of any kind; rough land; a rough road; rough cloth.
  • Not smoothed or formed by art; existing or left in a natural or an incomplete state; crude; unwrought; uneven; untrimmed: as, the rough materials of manufacture.
  • Rugged in form, outline, or appearance; harsh or unpleasing to the eye; irregular.
  • Crudely done or considered; indefinitely approximate; vague; partial; careless; hasty: as, to make a rough estimate or calculation; at a rough guess.
  • Characterized by harshness or asperity; disagreeably severe or coarse; discordant: used of things and actions with reference to their effects upon the senses or feelings, actions, sounds, etc.: as, rough weather; a rough remedy; rough treatment.
  • Lacking refinement; rude in character or action; unpolished; untrained; uncouth; awkward: as, rough kindness or attendance; a rough backwoodsman.
  • Characterized by violent or disorderly action or movement; rudely agitated or disturbed; boisterously violent; unrestrained: as, rough water; rough play.
  • Coarse; stale: as, rough bread; rough fish.
  • Astringent: said of wines or other beverages: as, a rough claret.
  • In botany, same as scabrous.
  • In Greek grammar, accompanied by, constituting, or marking the stronger aspiration, equivalent to our h; aspirated (in a narrower sense): as, a rough mute; the rough breathing.
  • Rough, harsh, or crude in kind, but ready or prompt in action or use.
  • Synonyms Rugged, jagged.
  • Unhewn, unwrought.
  • Hirsute, bristly.
  • Indelicate, ungracious, bluff, blunt, bearish, churlish, gruff, impolite, brusk.
  • n. Rough or roughened state or condition; crudeness; rawness; vehemence; exacerbation: with the: as, materials or work in the rough; the rough of a storm.
  • n. A projecting piece inserted in a horse's shoe, to keep him from slipping.
  • n. Rough weather.
  • n. plural In mining, a poor grade of tin ore, or that which has been only roughly dressed. Also rows.
  • To make rough; give a rough condition or appearance to; roughen: as, to rough a horse's shoes to prevent slipping.
  • To execute or shape out roughly; finish partially or in the rough; prepare for a finishing operation: as, to rough out building-stones.
  • To break in a horse, especially for military use.
  • To behave roughly; specifically, to break the rules in boxing by too much roughness.
  • Roughly; in a coarse, crude, or harsh manner.
  • A bad spelling of ruff.
  • In hat-manuf., to compact (the felt) by moisture, heat, and pressure.
  • To expose to winter weather, as cattle; permit to run at large during the winter.
  • n. A rowdy; a ruffian; a rude, coarse fellow; one given to riotous violence; a bully.
  • n. [In a foot-note Scaramelli is quoted to the effect that the word signifies in English “persona bassa e vile.”]

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

  • adj. causing or characterized by jolts and irregular movements
  • v. prepare in preliminary or sketchy form
  • adj. not carefully or expertly made
  • n. the part of a golf course bordering the fairway where the grass is not cut short
  • adj. ready and able to resort to force or violence
  • adj. of the margin of a leaf shape; having the edge cut or fringed or scalloped
  • adj. having or caused by an irregular surface
  • adj. violently agitated and turbulent
  • adj. unpleasantly stern
  • adj. not perfected
  • adj. unpleasantly harsh or grating in sound
  • adv. with roughness or violence (`rough' is an informal variant for `roughly')
  • adj. not shaped by cutting or trimming
  • adj. (of persons or behavior) lacking refinement or finesse
  • adv. with rough motion as over a rough surface
  • adj. unkind or cruel or uncivil
  • adj. full of hardship or trials
  • adj. not quite exact or correct


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

Middle English, from Old English rūh.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English rūh, from Proto-Germanic *rūhaz, cognate with West Frisian rûch ("rough"), Low Saxon (Low German) ruuch ("rough"), High German rau ("rough"), (old spelling) rauh ("rough"), Middle High German rûch ("rough"), (variants) rûhe, rûh, rouch.


  • Of course my rough drafts aren't going to be as good as something I pick up off the shelf, that's why they're called _rough_.

    Dealing with the suckage

  • She did not care for what she called my rough ways.

    Secrets of the Tudor Court

  • Chambers served 15 years in prison for the 1986 killing of Jennifer Levin, a death he claims happened accidentally during what he called rough sex.

    CNN Transcript Oct 23, 2007

  • The prosecutor described in her opening statement that Joseph Smith had what she called rough sex with this little girl.

    CNN Transcript Nov 7, 2005

  • '' The problem with Bermuda rough is the ball sinks in it, '' said Jones.

    Imagination, patience needed at No. 2

  • After that's done, it goes into what they call the rough-end of a machine room.

    Oral History Interview with Robert Riley, February 1, 1994. Interview K-0106. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)

  • An officer would be passed through immediately, which did not please two enlisted men near me, just back from what they called rough work at the front.

    The U-boat hunters

  • He also wants to shine a spotlight on what he calls the rough treatment Manning received when he was locked up in a brig in Quantico, Va.


  • Throughout the pages of "Mount Pleasant," released Thursday, Poizner sprinkles details about his guest stint at what he characterizes as a rough urban school starting in late 2002, two years after he sold his high-tech company for $1 billion.

  • Assuming that all of your video has been successfully digitized, and is resting comfortably in your hard drives and all of your software is functioning properly, the first thing that has to be done, is that you watch all of the material and do what they call a rough cut.

    Blather and Bosh


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Yeah, it's tough.

    August 22, 2008

  • Enough! Don't even bring bough into it.

    August 22, 2008

  • That's English fer ya. ;-)

    August 22, 2008

  • How can a word so similar to dough, though etc. be pronounced the way it is pronounced?

    August 22, 2008

  • "A burly rough pursues with booted strides. He stumbles on the steps, recovers, plunges into gloom. "

    Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    January 28, 2007