Tough vs Though? What’s the difference?

Although ‘tough” and “though” may look like similar words, they have two completely different meanings.

Whereas “tough” means that something is durable, steadfast, or withstanding, “though” is a way of saying that something has happened in spite of something else.

“H” is the only visual difference between “tough” and “though”, but keep reading to find out how different they are.

What Does “Tough” Mean?

Without the “th” in the beginning, “tough” is pronounced like “tuff,” with an “f” sound at the end of the word.

“Tough” as an Adjective

“Tough” is an adjective, or description word, that describes the subject of the sentence as resilient and long-lasting against unfavorable conditions.

To say that someone or something is “tough” means that they are strong and able to endure hardship.


You have to be tough to compete in the Olympics.
That’s a tough toy to withstand such rough play.
Notice that the word “tough” can be used for both mental and physical toughness.

What Does “Though” Mean?

Unlike the “f” sound the “gh” makes at the end of “tough,” the “gh” in “though” with a “th” in the beginning, makes a long “ō” sound.

You can use “though” as a conjunction word or an Adverb, but in both cases, it means someone or something has done a deed in spite of something else.

“Though” as a Conjunction

When you use “though” as a conjunction, it functions a little like the word “but.”


He wanted to go to the afterparty, though he was really starting to get tired.
He wanted to go to the afterparty, but he was really starting to get tired.
Note how “though” and “but” are easily interchangeable in the sentence.

“Though” as an Adverb

You can use “though” as an adverb anytime that you want to contradict something that you just said in the same sentence.


He was my boyfriend in college, but I have no idea what he is up to now though.

Her favorite color is red, but she looks better in the blue dress though.

Final Thoughts

The words “tough” and “though” are separated by one letter, but that letter makes all the difference.

With “tough” being an adjective and “though” either conjunction or an Adverb, they are from different parts of speech.

The words sound completely different when you say them out loud and you use them differently in a sentence.