tough break(redirected from tough-break)
1. An adverse circumstance resulting in misfortune or hardships; an instance of bad luck. John's had some tough breaks lately, between losing his job and getting in that horrible car accident just two weeks later. It was a tough break for the team who had come so close yet again to finally getting into the playoffs.
2. An interjection of mild or insincere sympathy for someone else's misfortune. A: "When my parents said I'd be getting a car for my birthday, I didn't think it would be some beat-up old van like this!" B: "Sorry, tough break pal. It's still cool that you got a car, though!" Tough break, Tom. Better luck next time!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a bit of bad fortune. I'm sorry to hear about your accident. Tough break. John had a lot of tough breaks when he was a kid, but he's doing okay now.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Also, tough luck. A trying or troublesome circumstance, bad luck, as in He got a tough break when he was denied a raise, or Tough luck for the team last night. This idiom uses tough in the sense of "difficult," a usage dating from the early 1600s. The variant is also used as a sarcastic interjection, as in So you didn't make straight A's-tough luck! A slangy variant of this interjection is tough beans, and a ruder version is tough shit. [Colloquial; c. 1900]
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.
n. a bit of bad luck. You’ve had a lot of tough breaks lately.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.