Figurative sense of "strenuous, difficult, hard to beat" is first recorded.1200; that of "hard to do, trying, laborious" is from 1610s.Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.Show More Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010 Douglas Harper Idioms and Phrases with tough tough In addition to the idioms beginning with tough tough break tough it out tough nut tough row to hoe tough sledding also see: get tough gut ( tough ) it out.

Capable of great endurance; sturdy; hardy: tough troops.Show More Idioms hang tough, Slang.

Of viscous consistency, as liquid or semiliquid matter: tough molasses.Where in the world should you volunteer?