The tough get going

Posted by R. Berg on October 21, 2001

In Reply to: The tough gets going posted by Sunitha on October 21, 2001

: Hi!,

: I wanted to know what does the phrase,
: "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going" means. Actually I understood the first part of it. But the second part "the tough gets going" is not clear to me. What does the word "tough" stand for, here? Does it mean "brave", "bold", "determined" or something like that?

: Any answer is appreciated.
: Thanks in advance.
: -K.Sunitha

Yes, it means precisely those things--brave, bold, determined . . . rugged, strong, indomitable. The saying goes ". . . the tough GET going": "tough" functions as a plural noun here. Those who are tough (strong) get going: they spring into action to meet whatever challenge is making things tough (difficult).