when the going gets tough, the tough get going


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when the going gets tough

When things become very difficult or unpleasant to deal with; when it becomes very hard to keep carrying on. Everyone in our neighborhood is very close, so when the going gets tough for anyone, there's always someone to lend a hand. We all work pretty independently here, but our boss always helps out when the going gets tough.
See also: get, going, tough

when the going gets tough, the tough get going

proverb When things become very difficult or unpleasant to deal with, people with true resolve, determination, or strength of character will take action and find the means to continue carrying on. Plenty of other companies our size decided to call it quits when the economy started to dip, but we are bound and determined to survive this recession, by any means necessary. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Our coach's methods often seem extreme to a lot of people, but his strict training regimen ensures that only the most serious and capable athletes remain on the team—when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
See also: get, going, tough
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

when the going gets tough

 and if the going gets tough; when the going gets rough; if the going gets rough
as things get extremely difficult; when it becomes difficult to proceed. When the going gets tough, I will be there to help you. If the going gets tough, just give me a call.
See also: get, going, tough

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Prov. When things are difficult, strong people take action and do not despair. (Can be used to encourage someone to take action.) The football team was losing the game, so at half time the coach reminded them that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Jill: I don't think I can walk all the way to the top of this hill; it's so steep! Jane: Don't give up. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
See also: get, going, tough
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

when the going gets tough, the tough get going

see under get going, def. 2.
See also: get, going, tough
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.

when the ˌgoing gets ˈtough (the ˌtough get ˈgoing)

(saying) when conditions or progress become difficult, then strong and determined people work even harder to succeed: I know it’s going to be hard work, but you can always call me when the going gets tough.
See also: get, going, tough
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

when the going gets tough, the tough get going

When there are major difficulties, capable individuals are spurred on to overcome them. This colloquialism has been ascribed to Joseph P. Kennedy, father of President John F. Kennedy. He may well have used it—J. H. Cutler said so in Honey Fitz, his biography of the Boston mayor, Joseph Kennedy’s father-in-law—but probably did not originate it. It clearly was one of the various ways in which the ambitious father spurred on his sons, three of whom became very successful in politics.
See also: get, going, tough
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going was the soundtrack for which hit movie?
"On the subject of misheard song lyrics, the Billy Ocean hit 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going' includes the refrain 'Going gets tough' which sounds very much like 'Go an' get stuffed'.
Always remember when the going gets tough, the tough get going!
After all, once you get by such triumphs as "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" and "We supply the equipment, you supply the guts," the pickings get pretty slim.
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