in·​tol·​er·​a·​ble | \ (ˌ)in-ˈtäl-rə-bəl , -ˈtä-lə-rə-, -ˈtä-lər-bəl\

Definition of intolerable

1 : not tolerable : unbearable intolerable pain
2 : excessive

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Other Words from intolerable

intolerability \ (ˌ)in-​ˌtäl-​rə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē , -​ˌtä-​lə-​rə-​ , -​ˌtä-​lər-​ \ noun
intolerableness \ (ˌ)in-​ˈtäl-​rə-​bəl-​nəs , -​ˈtä-​lə-​rə-​ , -​ˈtä-​lər-​bəl-​ \ noun
intolerably \ (ˌ)in-​ˈtäl-​rə-​blē , -​ˈtä-​lə-​rə-​ , -​ˈtä-​lər-​blē \ adverb

Examples of intolerable in a Sentence

She divorced him on the grounds of intolerable cruelty. this stifling heat is intolerable

Recent Examples on the Web

State public health officials inspected several correctional facilities this week after receiving complaints that prison temperatures had risen above 100 degrees during the recent heat wave and created intolerable conditions. Laura Crimaldi,, "Health inspectors visit prisons after receiving complaints about heat," 13 July 2018 The days are getting longer, the air is getting hotter, being at work is getting more intolerable — meaning, summer is almost upon us. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "The Song of the Summer Is Rudy Giuliani Getting Booed at a Yankees Game," 29 May 2018 The classic thinking holds that most people will let five people die rather than pull the lever, because the thought of deliberately killing one person — even to save five others — is intolerable to anyone with an ounce of empathy. Katie Heaney, The Cut, "People Aren’t As Morally Superior As They Think They Are," 21 June 2018 There was something intolerable to them about having an ally turn into a skeptic. Washington Post, "Ohio Senate race is a window into how NRA uses its influence," 5 Mar. 2018 Truth be told, that world never quite existed, and the mansion on the Rue de Monceau was always a refuge from an intolerable reality. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "A Secret Paris Museum and an Aristocratic Family Decimated by the Holocaust," 9 Feb. 2017 Just as some clothing manufacturers fit certain body types better, some companies' helmet shapes will feel custom-molded while others can create pressure points around your head—irritating for a commute, and intolerable on a road trip. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How I Found My Favorite Motorcycle Helmet," 9 Nov. 2018 But as Ely shows, what was acceptable in 1928 became intolerable by the early 1950s, especially in the wake of political activism led by groups like the NAACP. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "My Epiphany About the Problem With Apu," 14 Apr. 2018 Her primary doctor had tried giving her a number of migraine medications, cycling between standard therapies as one became less effective or another’s side effects became intolerable. Rick Pescatore,, "Medical mystery: Headaches that needed more than pills to resolve," 8 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intolerable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of intolerable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for intolerable

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin intolerabilis, from in- + tolerabilis tolerable

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Last Updated

5 Feb 2019

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The first known use of intolerable was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of intolerable

: too bad, harsh, or severe to be accepted or tolerated : not tolerable


in·​tol·​er·​a·​ble | \ in-ˈtä-lə-rə-bəl \

Kids Definition of intolerable

: unbearable intolerable heat

Other Words from intolerable

intolerably \ -​blē \ adverb

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