In the rough

Also found in: Idioms, Wikipedia.
in an unwrought or rude condition; unpolished; as, a diamond or a sketch in the rough.

See also: Rough

References in classic literature ?
My anxiety to be of service to you rushes into words; lays my meaning, in the rough, at your feet; and leaves your taste to polish it with the choicest ornaments of the English language.
The Marionette, being made of wood, floated easily along and swam like a fish in the rough water.
As to the thicket, made of the sort of shrubs that don't flourish in the rough season--laurels and fuchsias--it offered the murderer a sufficient hiding-place until it was time for him to make his way to the pavilion.