get tough

get tough (with someone)

to become firm with someone; to use physical force against someone. The teacher had to get tough with the class because the students were acting badly. I've tried nicely to get you to behave, but it looks like I'll have to get tough and really punish you.
See also: get, tough

be/get ˈtough (on/with somebody)

be strict with somebody whose behaviour you do not like; be ready to punish somebody: It’s time to get tough with football tough on crime
See also: get, tough
References in periodicals archive ?
You text | David Cameron said he would get tough with Sri Lanka on human rights.
HOME Office minister and Birmingham MP Liam Byrne made a flying visit to Solihull to highlight a Government campaign to get tough on immigration.
By golly, when we get tough this time, criminals won't get away with it.