(as) tough as (old) (shoe) leather

(as) tough as (old) (shoe) leather

1. Having great physical strength, health, or resilience. Marty has played in 500 straight games without an injury. The guy's as tough as old shoe leather. Bert is as tough as leather, so he'll have no trouble helping you move all this furniture! A: "Can you believe Grandma is still rowing at 87?" B: "I know, she's tough as old leather."
2. Having a very tough, leathery texture or consistency (as of meat). This steak is as tough as leather—I can barely even cut through it with a knife! That chicken's going to end up tough as old shoe leather if you leave it in the oven any longer. I really hope Aunt Ethel isn't making the Thanksgiving turkey this year—last time, it was tough as old leather.
3. Resisting emotional reactions or displays. Our aunt is as tough as old leather, so we asked her to give the eulogy, knowing that she's the only one who could do it without crying. I can't believe Uncle Stu cried at that movie. I've always known him to be tough as shoe leather! Haven't we moved past the stereotype that men have to be tough as old shoe leather? Personally, I find emotional vulnerability very attractive.
4. Displaying determination or inflexibility. You'll never get Rich to change his opinion—he's as tough as old shoe leather when it comes to politics. Without fail, my toddler becomes tough as shoe leather any time he doesn't get what he wants. My days are full of tantrums anymore. Larry is tough as old leather once he sets his sights on something, so good luck getting him to change course now.
See also: leather, tough
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

tough as leather

1. If something is as tough as leather, it is very tough. Her hands were tough as leather.
2. If someone is tough as leather, they have a strong character or body and do not get upset or hurt easily. He's shown he's tough as leather.
See also: leather, tough
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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