What Do the Expressions “Rough and Ready” and “Rough and Tumble” Mean and How Did They Originate?

Both “rough and ready” and “rough and tumble” are expressions that came from the sport of boxing.

Rough still means “crude,” so “rough and ready” meant a semi-pro or amateur who, although unpolished and perhaps not as well trained as he should be, was still considered good enough to enter the ring.

If a contest was “rough and tumble,” both fighters had agreed to throw away the rules, which led to a lot of tumbling.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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