Alternative formsEdit


rough + and + tumble


rough-and-tumble (comparative more rough-and-tumble, superlative most rough-and-tumble)

  1. active, vigorous and rough, with the possibility of harm
  2. highly competitive
    She found fame and success in the rough-and-tumble garment district.


rough-and-tumble (plural rough-and-tumbles)

  1. Rough activity; fights
    • 1995, Anthony Powell, A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, page 23
      She liked ragging; but ragging — and nothing more — these rough-and-tumbles remained
    • 2000, Mark Michael Smith, The Old South, page 105
      As for rough-and-tumbles, the Quaker saw no hope of suppressing them. Few nights passed without such fights []
  2. An environment of rough activity
  3. A person who characteristically engages in such activity
    • 1854, William Chorlton, "The Culture of Celery", in The Horticulturist, and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste, ed. by Luther Tucker, page 166
      This will appear a very tedious process to some of our rough-and-tumbles.



rough-and-tumble (third-person singular simple present rough-and-tumbles, present participle rough-and-tumbling, simple past and past participle rough-and-tumbled)

  1. Engage in rough-and-tumble activity
    • 1853, Thomas De Quincey, Historical and Critical Essays, page 4
      But, for all that, our British experience of electioneering "rough-and-tumbling'" has long blunted the edge of our moral anger.
    • 1995, David Kenneth Wiggins, Sport in America: From Wicked Amusement to National Obsession, page 38
      Although examples could be found throughout the South, rough-and-tumbling was best suited to the backwoods.