Difference Between Tuff and Tough

Tuff vs Tough

Tuff and tough are two words that have the same pronunciation. As such, they are homonyms, but they are not the same or cannot be used interchangeably as they have meanings that are similar but not quite the same. This article attempts to take a closer look at tuff and tough to come up with their differences.


The tough get going when the going gets tough. This is an old saying that sums up the meaning of tough for students of English language. Denim is a fabric that is used to make jeans. It is called very tough as it can withstand a lot of stress and strain. Anything that is strong and resilient and does not break or tear when put under pressure is called tough. You call the meat tough when you are not able to chew it easily. If you meet a war veteran, you find him a tough guy. However, something high on severity is also labeled tough as in tough winters or tough weather conditions. If you find the exam paper to be difficult, you say that the paper was tough. Take a look at the following examples to understand the meaning of the word tough.

• Denim is a tough material.

• Kids could not eat the tough steak.

• John is a very tough employer for his employees.

• The situation was very tough for the debutante.


Tuff is a rock made up of volcanic ash. Something that is sleek and stylish is also referred to as tuff. So a racing car can be labeled as tuff if you find it cool and stylish. People also use tuff when they want to say good looking. However, it is used as a slang word too where one wants to use tough.

Tuff vs Tough

• Tough is the same as robust or rugged, whereas tuff is a slang word that is not the same as tough.

• You can say that steel is a tough material, but you cannot use tuff.

• Tuff is mostly used for cool, stylish, expensive things.

• You call duct tape as tough and not tuff, but a beautiful Ferrari car is labeled tuff.

• Tuff of course is the name of the rock made up of volcanic ash.