be tough

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be tough

To be stern or commanding with someone. Tell Aunt Margie that she needs to be tough with the kids, or else they'll never listen to her.
See also: 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 hooligans.be tough on crime
See also: get, tough
References in classic literature ?
no, no, Jack," cries the uncle, "the hearts of women are not so soon broke; they are tough, boy, they are tough." "But, sir," answered Nightingale, "my own affections are engaged, and I never could be happy with any other woman.
"English players are tough, no question," said the 24-year-old.