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Someone (or something) that has hidden exceptional characteristics and/or future potential, but currently lacks the final touches that would make them (or it) truly stand out from the crowd.

The phrase is metaphorical and relates to the fact that naturally occurring diamonds are quite ordinary at first glance, and that their true beauty as jewels is only realized through the cutting and polishing process.
She may seem shy and ordinary right now, but give her a couple more years - she truly is a diamond in the rough.
by Ainz January 24, 2006
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4
Someone that falls into unfortunate circumstances but works to better themselves, whether it be the homeless, imprisoned etc.
I love JJ, although he's in prison, he's got potential, he's my diamond in the rough.
by goodsam March 25, 2008
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1. A good athlete that was either undrafted or chosen late in the draft
2. Someone good at something that hangs out with bad people who are bad at it
1. Ben Wallace, an undrafted basketball player has been named defensive player or the year.
2. The lead singer Michael, was the diamond in the rough in the garage band
by Tore a Bore a May 30, 2004
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A sexual act involving a married woman inserting a diamond ring in the ass.
Your wife's ring doesn't shine quite the same way after she gave me the diamond in the rough last night.
by Flip189 July 25, 2006
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