Definition of toughie in US English:



  • 1A person who is tough, determined, and not easily daunted.

    • ‘When she was still in her early teens, this man who was a toughie, jumped on to the stage after her dance, brandishing a knife, and told her, ‘You have to be mine.’’
    • ‘The toughies she encountered during her teaching career knew exactly where they stood with her and respected her for it.’
    • ‘They're toughies, but they also respond to kindness.’
    • ‘All that was missing from the scene were a couple of pin-striped toughies carrying violin cases.’
    • ‘But Australians seem to respect someone who acts like a toughie.’
    • ‘Monkeys who want to rule the world will be slapped down by these troublesome toughies called Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup.’
    • ‘But Bogart's iconic image as the toughie was something he could rarely escape, even off screen.’
    • ‘Flash forward to their senior year: Lucy is a brainiac virgin; Kit is an engaged, self centered snob; and Mimi is a trailer trash talking toughie who had the unfortunate luck of getting pregnant.’
    • ‘There is no doubt that behind Goodwin's schoolboy looks lurks a toughie.’
    • ‘In this genre, they don't come more distinctive, and the haunchy swoop of the back end is a steroidal depiction of a toughie driving round the block.’
    • ‘But I think if I were a man, I'd be a real toughie, a kind of a gruff - I'd be a man's man.’
    • ‘College students are held in low esteem, thanks to commercial movies that regularly feature youth as toughies amid free-flowing booze, drugs, and gals.’
    • ‘I may be an interior designer but I am a toughie - and that's part due to my Yorkshire background, I'm sure.’
    • ‘Jean-Pierre's father likes to regale me of his days as a young motorcycle toughie in the Tehran nightclubs.’
    • ‘The toughie from Madison Wisconsin, Morel, might be a different story.’
    • ‘While we wondered at their street-corner, street-clothed hardiness a couple of other toughies turned up.’
    • ‘When the going gets tough, you toughies really do get up - so make the extra effort this week to help others not fortunate enough to have been born Capricorns with some of your true grit, fortitude and soul support.’
    • ‘She's the toughie; he's the softie, leading with his heart, trying to tamp down his prim lust.’
    • ‘You don't have to be such a toughie or one of the guys all the time you know.’
    • ‘James Cagney was a screen toughie, but the poor guy had to dance and sing for the Academy members to take note of him.’
    ruffian, rowdy, thug, hoodlum, hooligan, brute, bully, bully boy, rough, gangster, desperado
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  • 2A difficult problem or question.

    ‘Whom do you admire most? That's a toughie’
    • ‘Last night Darren, Drew and I went to the Retro Bar pop quiz. £97 was up for grabs so the quiz was a toughie.’
    • ‘But some students cracked real toughies, too, without batting an eyelid.’
    • ‘That's a toughie, because there's no way to get around it - if they're fat-free, the cookies aren't so great, and you end up eating more.’
    • ‘I know that ankle injuries are toughies to come back from, but this is getting a little extreme, isn't it?’
    • ‘That's a toughie, because they sometimes want detail.’
    • ‘Now a toughie: Why in its main business of peddling computers does this same company have so much trouble elevating its minuscule single-digit market share?’
    • ‘It was a toughie, but we finally got it all right and enjoyed great panoramic views of the Silicon Valley and Bay below.’
    • ‘It's a toughie this one, but there's a strategically placed bench half way up!’
    • ‘That's a toughie - but here's one strong opinion of why each of the eight would win if it went toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs.’
    • ‘So it does not make sense to solve a toughie and impress the examiner (which anyway will be a computer).’
    • ‘That's a toughie to get across with such limited resources.’
    • ‘Pubs, this is a toughie, I don't know what to suggest.’
    • ‘This is a toughie to answer because I think it depends very much on the wider nature of the person involved.’
    • ‘The musicals round was potentially going to be a toughie.’
    • ‘I know this is a toughie, but it just has to be non-negotiable.’
    • ‘This is a toughie - you need to look at your own set of skills, experience and ability realistically to identify where your weaknesses lie and address them.’
    • ‘‘Herm, that's a toughie,’ Lisa said, placing her finger on her chin, appearing to be in deep thought, contemplating all the wonders of the universe.’
    • ‘That's a toughie, or should have been, but isn't, because difficult issues, such as paternity suits, or a grown man in an elf costume wanting to play with other people's children, are brushed under the carpet.’
    • ‘It's a toughie but I'd have to go with the Campino.’
    • ‘Here's a toughie: yep, I'm on the rebound from a decent relationship with a decent guy who just wasn't ready to be responsible to a committed relationship.’
    difficult question, awkward problem, knotty problem, vexed question, tough one, puzzle, mystery, conundrum, puzzler, enigma, riddle
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