pa·​tience | \ ˈpā-shən(t)s How to pronounce patience (audio) \

Essential Meaning of patience

1 : the ability to wait for a long time without becoming annoyed or upset I don't have the patience to wait in line for hours just to buy a ticket. Investors need to have patience. The economy will improve soon. See More Examples"Aren't you finished yet?" "Have patience (with me). I'll be done soon." Those people have been waiting for hours, and they're starting to run out of patience. = They're starting to lose patience. After 10 long weeks, his patience was rewarded. [=he got what he wanted after waiting 10 weeks for it]Hide
2 : the ability to remain calm and not become annoyed when dealing with problems or with difficult people She treated her students with great patience and humor. I don't have (much) patience for that kind of behavior. = I have little/no patience for that kind of behavior. [=I am not willing to accept that kind of behavior] See More ExamplesThe team continues to play poorly, and many fans are starting to lose patience (with them). [=many fans are starting to become angry or upset about the team] She has the patience of a saint. [=she is a very patient person] All these mistakes of yours are trying my patience. [=I am starting to get upset because you have made so many mistakes]Hide
3 : the ability to give attention to something for a long time without becoming bored or losing interest I don't have the patience to do crossword puzzles.

Full Definition of patience

1 : the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient
2 chiefly British : solitaire sense 2

Synonyms & Antonyms for patience



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Examples of patience in a Sentence

To be a biographer is a somewhat peculiar endeavor. It seems to me it requires not only the tact, patience, and thoroughness of a scholar but also the stamina of a horse. — Nancy Milford, Vanity Fair, August 2001 … in this time of bioethical conundrums, it is good to know that patience, good will, and personal morality will untie far more intellectual knots than the disarray of rancor, conflict, and special interests … — Sherwin B. Nuland, New Republic, 13 Dec. 1999 Mind-numbing delays and irrelevant search results are enough to try the patience of the most saintly Web surfers. — Neil Gross et al., Business Week, 14 June 1999 After a while, their ideological certitudes tried the patience of their own peoples … — Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., New Yorker, 16 Nov. 1992 I don't have the patience to wait in line for hours just to buy a ticket. Investors need to have patience. The economy will improve soon. She treated her students with great patience and humor. I don't have the patience to do crossword puzzles.
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Recent Examples on the Web The book’s chapters—on topics like self-control, patience, relationships, and negative feedback—each end with a series of questions, guiding the reader to a new framework through which to understand their own behavior. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, 2 Jan. 2022 Kruger shows no patience for artistic obfuscation (in contrast to other artists who have used language, such as Christopher Wool and Bruce Naumann). Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 Have some patience, self-love, and don’t try to live up to any expectations of what motherhood is or should be. Morgan Absher, USA TODAY, 28 Dec. 2021 The five-day format can be a test of character, a test of wits, a test of endurance, a test of patience, etc. John Pye, ajc, 25 Dec. 2021 This lack of prioritization has been matched by the tech industry, which typically seeks quick returns and shuns fields that require patience, huge investments, and are deemed high-risk—leaving out climate innovation as a result. Shoshanna Solomon, Fortune, 10 Dec. 2021 Either way, collaborative creation required patience, good humor and a sort of disciplined openness for these Beatles. Chris Richards, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Dec. 2021 The California Department of Public Health urged patience and routine prevention measures, including wearing a mask indoors and receiving a booster shot, until more is known about the variant. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Dec. 2021 Arriving at that appreciation, not just for Felker but the entire band, took three years of patience, uncertainty, and self-reflection. Josh Crutchmer, Rolling Stone, 30 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'patience.' 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 patience

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for patience

see patient entry 1

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Time Traveler for patience

Time Traveler

The first known use of patience was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near patience



patience plant

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Statistics for patience

Last Updated

6 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Patience.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for patience


pa·​tience | \ ˈpā-shəns How to pronounce patience (audio) \

Kids Definition of patience

: the ability to remain calm when dealing with a difficult or annoying situation, task, or person A person will need patience to do this work.

More from Merriam-Webster on patience

Nglish: Translation of patience for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of patience for Arabic Speakers


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