in·​tol·​er·​a·​ble (ˌ)in-ˈtä-lə-rə-bəl How to pronounce intolerable (audio)
: not tolerable : unbearable
intolerable pain
(ˌ)in-ˌtä-lə-rə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce intolerable (audio)
(ˌ)in-ˈtä-lə-rə-bəl-nəs How to pronounce intolerable (audio)
(ˌ)in-ˈtä-lə-rə-blē How to pronounce intolerable (audio)

Example Sentences

She divorced him on the grounds of intolerable cruelty. this stifling heat is intolerable
Recent Examples on the Web This is an intolerable zero-sum situation, and China is working actively to change the status quo. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2021 But residents are complaining that a new, experimental system installed on its circuit breakers in fire-prone areas to cut power more aggressively to prevent wildfires has created an intolerable situation. Julie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Sep. 2021 The Georgia congresswoman’s reinstatement on Twitter ended a ten-month ban during which, in the view of millions from coast to coast, her silence has been intolerable. Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2022 No, that’s unacceptable and intolerable and disgraceful. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 1 Dec. 2022 Soccer fans who care about the sport and the message behind it should be thinking seriously about boycotting the World Cup in Qatar, as a sign that the political and human rights conditions on the ground are intolerable. Katharina Fuchs, Vogue, 17 Nov. 2022 That’s pretty high, but not intolerable, for humans and other life. Bill Andrews, Discover Magazine, 9 Dec. 2013 The oxygen is an environment intolerable to one or more sides, with no possible political solution. Brynn Tannehill, The New Republic, 12 Dec. 2022 As much as her fame and prominence made her incarceration intolerable to some Americans, Ms. Griner’s gender may be coloring the exchange in the eyes of some critics, Professor Silbey suggested. Ken Bensinger, New York Times, 9 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near intolerable

Cite this Entry

“Intolerable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​tol·​er·​a·​ble (ˈ)in-ˈtäl-(ə-)rə-bəl How to pronounce intolerable (audio)
: not tolerable : unbearable
intolerable pain
intolerably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on intolerable

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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