Meaning of roughneck in English:


Pronunciation /ˈrʌfnɛk/

See synonyms for roughneck

Translate roughneck into Spanish


  • 1A rough and uncouth person.

    • ‘the usual roughnecks and gangsters’
    • ‘The roughnecks and hooligans have gone and instead families on a Saturday night dine alfresco on the broad shrub-lined pavements as though they were in Paris.’
    • ‘Above all, every effort is made to avoid roughnecks and ‘muscle-bound morons.’’
    • ‘The power in Corb's songs is his ability to bring his world of roughnecks and steer roping to life on the stage.’
    • ‘A bunch of roughnecks with feather-cut hair and Indian canoes was loitering by the river bank, smoke still wafting from the barrel of their gun.’
    • ‘Things improved after Popper challenged the leader of the roughnecks to a boxing match.’
    • ‘Despite their formidable learning and enlightenment, they possibly knowingly refused to distinguish between gentlemen and roughnecks, and did not prevent anyone from coming near them.’
    • ‘Over the next hundred years the Wind River Valley attracted only a few hardy farmers, ranchers, and roughnecks.’
    • ‘‘I was in the same roughneck neighborhoods, but just didn't associate with the roughnecks,’ she often said.’
    • ‘When she showed up hurt and said a couple of roughnecks pulled her into the alley to kill her, I couldn't imagine why.’
    • ‘In recent times the town has been rocked by criminal activities which have resulted in some people being killed in cold blood by roughnecks.’
    • ‘There are a lot of roughnecks in those camps, and who knows what kind of abuse she'll go through.’
    • ‘The local constable was earning his pay again breaking up fights between the roughnecks.’
    • ‘It wouldn't be politically wise for the ambitious local marshal to be associated with a roughneck like Horn.’
    • ‘Ultimately the little roughneck escapes, and she bonds with the town's biggest nerd.’
    • ‘He was smart, liked to read, wasn't a roughneck like most kids, and liked being alone from time to time.’
    • ‘The family is barely holding together, and Charlie acts out with violent activity designed to impress a gang of roughnecks that he'd very much like to hang out with.’
    • ‘The Outback Australian roughneck is not more charitable, or enlightened, than his American counterpart - the redneck.’
    ruffian, thug, scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, lout, hooligan, hoodlum, vandal, delinquent, rowdy, bully boy, bully, brute
    View synonyms
  • 2An oil rig worker.

    • ‘He gave two-thirds of full-time employees - everyone from top management to roughnecks working on oil rigs - Net-linked laptops.’
    • ‘When I worked in the South as a roughneck on oil rigs and as a steamfitter, I saw men like Walt get hung out to dry.’
    • ‘The bump-backs cascade down the hierarchy of skills and seniority; the roustabouts and roughnecks in lesser-skilled positions and typically of recent hire go walking.’
    • ‘The roughnecks dodged him, toting boxes of stamped cargo goods and dirty mops to swab the deck.’
    • ‘During the Interior secretary's tenure, Taylor jumped to more lucrative work as a pumper, roughneck, and roustabout on Wyoming's oil wells.’
    • ‘Palmer himself was hired as roughneck in 1953, when he was 18.’
    • ‘This was a dangerous area, but the skilled roughnecks and the roustabouts went about their business with seamless teamwork.’
    • ‘When he went there, he noticed that roughnecks who worked the rigs were maddened by a gelatinous black gunk that clogged up their drills.’


[no object] informal
  • Work on an oil rig.

    • ‘he gave up college to roughneck on wells in west Texas’
    • ‘Folk who were in the jungle five years ago, they're working on the rigs now, roughnecking - think of that for a new beginning!’
    • ‘During the 1980s oil boom my oldest son roughnecked for his college money.’