rough patch


Senior Member

I did not find the explanations of the phrase "rough patch",
But I googled a lot of results.
Can you please tell me what it means?

"The economy is in the midst of a very rough patch"

Thanks in advance!

  • Full Tilt Boogie

    Senior Member
    British English
    A trouble-free life can be/is likened to a calm sea.

    Whenever bad weather 'kicks-up' (appears), it is called a rough patch.

    Hence, whenever you hit/experience a 'rough patch' (in life or in an economy), it means that things/circumstances are not ideal or going as you'd like them.


    Senior Member
    English (US)
    A "rough patch" is a difficult time. For example, a couple could be going through a "rough patch" in their marriage.

    Generally, the phrase implies a short duration, although most of the time the duration turns out to be longer. In your example, officials might say that the economy is going through a "rough patch" to try to assuage the public. The public, however, will most likely be weary of such explanations, and would likely assume the officials were not being completely truthful, thus defeating the calming intent.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    It is a metaphor for a difficult time, the reference being a part (patch) of a road that is not smooth (rough) and therefore not easy to cross.
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