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 During a news conference Thursday, Dallas officials urged residents to be patient, continue to check on one another and call 311 for city services and aid. Everton Bailey Jr., Dallas News, "Dallas will give out water, money in response to winter storm," 18 Feb. 2021 Swathi Bonda, Brookfield’s development director, said the company is patient and committed to the project for the long run. J.k. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, "As San Francisco's office market tanked, one developer kept building its new tower," 16 Feb. 2021 More appointments will be released regularly in the coming weeks, so officials are urging people to be patient and keep checking back. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska coronavirus Q&A: Do you need to bring proof of eligibility to your vaccine appointment? How many cigarettes smoked over a lifetime would qualify you as high-risk?," 14 Feb. 2021 For the 10th grading period in a row, St. Tammany Health System has received an A for patient safety from the Leapfrog Group, an independent health care watchdog organization., "St. Tammany Health System earns another top grade," 11 Jan. 2021 At the time, the FDA’s only recourse post-approval to protect patient safety was to withdraw a drug completely from the market. Stephen Northrup, STAT, "Looking back and looking ahead: Vioxx, drug safety, and the legacy of Sen. Michael Enzi," 21 Dec. 2020 Despite their long history of success, hospital leaders wanted to explore new ways to improve patient safety and decrease medical errors. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "What an Italian pit crew taught hospital leaders about safety," 19 Dec. 2020 An expert panel selected 28 measures of patient safety and places them into one of two domains: Process/Structural Measures and Outcome Measures. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "How safe is your hospital? These states rank best and worst for care.," 15 Dec. 2020 While speed is of the essence in dealing with the current healthcare crisis, patient safety must be of the utmost importance. Sam Coffey,, "Patience key as we await COVID-19 vaccine | Opinion," 3 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Even if there is only a small amount of the virus in a patient's sample, PCR will probably find it. Devi Shastri, USA TODAY, "How a 1960s discovery in Yellowstone made millions of COVID-19 PCR tests possible," 22 Feb. 2021 The small clamp-like devices attach painlessly to a patient's finger and constantly monitor the amount of oxygen in their blood. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "How America will mark 500,000 virus deaths," 22 Feb. 2021 In practice, this will involve building Zoom-like platforms where a medical professional can supervise from a distant, perhaps with a nurse assisting from the patient's home. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Can LSD cure our pandemic anxiety? MindMed is spending big to find out," 18 Feb. 2021 During his day shift at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Anthony Scarpone-Lambert steps into a patient's room. Allyson Waller New York Times, Star Tribune, "College student's simple invention helps nurses work and patients rest," 18 Feb. 2021 There is no evidence that the vaccination caused patient's death. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "COVID-19 vaccines: What you need to know about side effects and risks," 8 Feb. 2021 Even when fat people explicitly discuss their changing relationship with food with medical professionals, members of their care team may downplay or dismiss those worries due to the patient's size. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Gabourey Sidibe on How Bulimia Became Her 'Self-Defense Mechanism' Against Depression," 25 Jan. 2021 Allergists can test directly for ingredient reactions by pricking a patient's skin with the vaccine itself or with certain ingredients to see if hives form. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, "COVID-19 vaccine ingredients can trigger allergic reactions, but officials say it's rare," 23 Jan. 2021 Such models could be tailored to replicate an individual patient's blood vessel, letting doctors try different treatments and find the best solution. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "Printing a Brain Aneurysm in a Dish," 19 Jan. 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

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Patient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 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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