pa·​tient | \ ˈpā-shənt How to pronounce patient (audio) \

Definition of patient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2 : manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3 : not hasty or impetuous
4 : steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
5a : able or willing to bear used with of
b : susceptible, admitting patient of one interpretation


pa·​tient | \ ˈpā-shənt How to pronounce patient (audio) \

Definition of patient (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an individual awaiting or under medical care and treatment cancer patients psychiatric patients
b : the recipient of any of various personal services
2 : one that is acted upon are agents as well as patients and observers in the world— C. H. Whiteley

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Synonyms & Antonyms for patient

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of patient in a Sentence

Adjective To pry apart violent Islamic radicals, the United States has to become knowledgeable about internal cleavages and be patient in exploiting them. — Samantha Power, New York Times Book Review, 29 July 2007 I pack them into the compartment for a visit, pack till it's full far beyond capacity and weep with them, share with them my scanty bit of good fortune, tell them I care, tell them be patient, tell them I'm on their side … — John Edgar Wideman, Harper's, December 2003 There's no sense being patient with people who make you wait, because they'll only make you wait longer the next time. — Andrew A. Rooney, And More by Andy Rooney, (1979) 1982 I hate having to stand in long lines. I'm just not very patient. The teacher treated her students in a patient and understanding way. “Aren't you finished yet?” “Be patient. I'll be done soon.” Proofreading requires patient attention to detail. They put in years of patient labor on the project. Noun Several patients were waiting to see the doctor. the nurse asked the patient to change into a paper gown
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That means the death of a surgeon like Dr. Moonga, who spent time treating patients in rural Zambia and was known to operate at no charge when people couldn’t afford hospital fees, can affect patient care for years to come. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "For Front-Line Doctors in Poor Countries, Covid-19 Vaccine Comes Too Late," 18 Mar. 2021 As a clinical nurse specialist and one of the nurse managers in the emergency department, Surane’s job is to support staff members, whether that is training them on new protocols or answering questions about patient care. Alison Bowen,, "‘I can’t leave them yet’: A year after her planned retirement, a nurse stays on to fight COVID-19," 18 Mar. 2021 Giving patients the opportunity to influence their treatment regimen can also empower individuals by improving patient care and reducing the likelihood of risks and side effects. Nikolai Vassev, Forbes, "Why Genetic Screening Represents A New Frontier For Precision Medicine," 11 Mar. 2021 He was released from hospitalization and will be fostered until his patient care is done, in about two weeks, the clinic said. Minnah Arshad, Detroit Free Press, "Miracle dog Alfonso almost ready for adoption after Detroit River island rescue," 6 Mar. 2021 The donation will also support patient care and a community navigator for families affected by sickle cell disease, which affects nearly 1 out of every 400 Black infants. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Northwestern Mutual pledges $5 million to Children's Wisconsin cancer center," 27 Feb. 2021 Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would mandate state inspections after out-of-state owners purchase nursing homes, where the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic has exposed lapses in infection control, patient care and oversight. Washington Post, "Maryland weighs reform for long-term care facilities, where covid-19 has killed 3,500," 26 Feb. 2021 On one hand, being infected with a variant won't affect patient care, public health officials and clinicians say. NBC News, "Have a case of Covid variant? No one is going to tell you," 24 Feb. 2021 Private equity firms' purchase of hospitals has also raised concerns about patient care, including from health care practitioners themselves. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "At private equity-owned nursing homes, an "enormous" increase in death rates, study finds," 24 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One study patient who received the drug cocktail visited an emergency room for Covid-19 related symptoms, the companies said. Joseph Walker, WSJ, "Pair of Covid-19 Drugs Performed Well in Studies, Makers Say," 29 Mar. 2021 One such patient was Audry Nafziger, a USC law student who visited the clinic in 1990. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, "USC survivors say $1.1 billion in settlements is justice for sex abuse ignored," 26 Mar. 2021 Early on, the U.S. study was stopped for a month-and-a-half because of a cerebral hemorrhage in one patient that was later determined to be unrelated to the vaccine. Andrew Joseph, STAT, "‘I was sort of stunned’: Fauci and U.S. officials say AstraZeneca released ‘outdated information’ from Covid-19 vaccine trial," 24 Mar. 2021 Those unpaid board members include influential Rhode Islanders and wealthy donors who have no patient-facing roles., "R.I. Attorney General: Lifespan, Care New England, should not have vaccinated board members early," 23 Mar. 2021 Caregivers working in patient-facing areas or with visitors will continue to follow all PPE guidelines and wear a procedure mask and eye protection. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "‘Let us cheer!’, cruises return, adolescent trials: News from around our 50 states," 22 Mar. 2021 One patient had imaging that showed a spot on his lung, and he was supposed to follow up, just as the pandemic hit. New York Times, "Advanced Cancers Are Emerging, Doctors Warn, Citing Pandemic Drop in Screenings," 17 Mar. 2021 Michael Catania of Green Oaks is one Condell patient who was especially grateful to receive his second dose of vaccine Thursday in Libertyville, according to a news release from Advocate Aurora Health. Steve Sadin,, "Lake County prepared to administer COVID-19 shots as fast as vaccine arrives; Fairgrounds site now open 6 days per week," 5 Mar. 2021 One patient with injuries was transferred to harbor UCLA Medical Center. Tori Richards, Washington Examiner, "Tiger Woods hospitalized after 'roll-over' traffic collision," 23 Feb. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for patient

Adjective and Noun

Middle English pacient, from Anglo-French, from Latin patient-, patiens, from present participle of pati to suffer; perhaps akin to Greek pēma suffering

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Time Traveler for patient

Time Traveler

The first known use of patient was in the 14th century

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Statistics for patient

Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Patient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for patient



English Language Learners Definition of patient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people
: done in a careful way over a long period of time without hurrying



English Language Learners Definition of patient (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who receives medical care or treatment


pa·​tient | \ ˈpā-shənt How to pronounce patient (audio) \

Kids Definition of patient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: able to or showing the ability to remain calm when dealing with a difficult or annoying situation, task, or person a patient response a patient teacher

Other Words from patient

patiently adverb



Kids Definition of patient (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person under medical care or treatment


pa·​tient | \ ˈpā-shənt How to pronounce patient (audio) \

Medical Definition of patient

1 : a sick individual especially when awaiting or under the care and treatment of a physician or surgeon the hospital is equipped to handle 500 patients
2 : a client for medical service (as of a physician or dentist) a good practice with a large number of patients

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