To remain resillient even in hard times; enduring.
This phrase has existed for at least over 200 years, being used quite often in the early 1800s.
Have you ever had to deal with a big problem? Chances are, you have, and maybe someone told you to 'tough it out.' The 'it' refers to the problem you're experiencing, so what they're saying is, you need to be strong, even in the face of such troubles. The problems can be anything, from the only job you had, to being bedridden for weeks from some terrible illness.
The phrase is used in the 'be resillient manner in The Ariel: a literary gazette: Volumes 1-2, 1827:
"The Legislature of Indiana have determined to grant no divorces the present session, so that some of the 'paired, not matched,' must tough it out a little longer."
This phrase can also be said as 'roughing it out', both having identical meanings. An example comes from The European magazine and London review, 1810:
"'What has poor Horace done, who is so weak, that, above all the rest, he should be sent to rough it out at sea?'"
* Jacob and his family were in a woeful state of mind because their pet chihuahua had fallen ill, but they had to tough it out and wait for the veterinarian to determine what was wrong.
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Phrases and Idioms
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Note: A phrase's origins are, much of the time, completely unclear. The origins you see listed are the plausible theories floating around for how or where an idiom came from, but may not necessarily be accurate. The quotes which have the phrase in them are the oldest written forms of the phrase I could find, but keep in mind that older recordings are probably out there somewhere. If you find an earlier citation than what I have, feel free to let me know!
Also, remember that just because you see a saying in an old book or newspaper, let's say from the year 1893, it does not mean the saying originates from that source. In all likelihood, if an expression is already in use in a book or newspaper, then it's probably older. Nevertheless, these old quotes serve as a way to show the reader how far back in history some of these sayings go.