the rough and tumble of (something)

rough and tumble

Rowdy, disorderly, and boisterous; marked by scuffles or infighting. An allusion to a boxing match in which there are no rules. Sometimes hyphenated when used before a noun. The kids started getting a bit too rough and tumble when their cousin Jake came over. It's healthy for them to have a bit of rough-and-tumble play, so long as they make time for quiet play, as well.
See also: and, rough, tumble

the rough and tumble of (something)

The disorder, aggressive infighting, arguing, or competitiveness of something. An allusion to a boxing match in which there are no rules. I just wanted to make a difference to the people who lived in my community. I wasn't prepared for the rough and tumble of local politics.
See also: and, of, rough, tumble
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

rough and tumble

Disorderly scuffling or infighting, as in She had some reservations about entering the rough and tumble of local politics. This expression originated in the late 1700s in boxing, where it referred to a fight without rules. [Mid-1800s]
See also: and, rough, tumble
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

rough and tumble

COMMON You use rough and tumble to mean a situation in which there is a lot of arguing or competition and people do not worry about upsetting or harming others. Whoever expected leaders in the rough and tumble of electoral politics to be nice or fair? Note: You can use rough-and-tumble before a noun. He started his political career in the rough-and-tumble world of student politics. Note: You usually use this expression when you think that this is normal or acceptable behaviour. Note: Originally, a rough and tumble was a boxing match in which there were no rules or restrictions.
See also: and, rough, tumble
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

rough and tumble

a situation without rules or organization; a free-for-all.
The expression originated in 19th-century boxing slang.
See also: and, rough, tumble
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

rough and ˈtumble


1 a situation in which people compete with each other and are aggressive in order to get what they want: In the rough and tumble of politics you can’t trust anyone.
2 a noisy but not serious fight: The toddlers often join in the rough and tumble of the older children’s games.
See also: and, rough, tumble
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

rough and tumble

mod. disorderly; aggressive. George is too rough and tumble for me. He doesn’t know how to act around civilized people.
See also: and, rough, tumble
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

rough and tumble

Violent and disorderly action; a fight without rules. This early nineteenth-century Americanism may have originated in boxing—at least it was so defined by John Bartlett in 1859, although his work antedated the Queensberry rules of the ring by some years, and most boxing was of the rough-and-tumble variety. Nevertheless, the term was generally applied only to physical fights of various kinds until the second half of the century, when it began to be used more figuratively. Oliver Wendell Holmes (The Poet at the Breakfast-Table, 1872) wrote “That circle of rough-and-tumble political life.”
See also: and, rough, tumble
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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