suffer

verb
suf·​fer | \ ˈsə-fər How to pronounce suffer (audio) \
suffered; suffering\ ˈsə-​f(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce suffer (audio) \

Definition of suffer

transitive verb

1a : to submit to or be forced to endure suffer martyrdom
b : to feel keenly : labor under suffer thirst
3 : to put up with especially as inevitable or unavoidable
4 : to allow especially by reason of indifference the eagle suffers little birds to sing— William Shakespeare

intransitive verb

1 : to endure death, pain, or distress
2 : to sustain loss or damage
3 : to be subject to disability or handicap

Other Words from suffer

sufferable \ ˈsə-​f(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce suffer (audio) \ adjective
sufferableness noun
sufferably \ ˈsə-​f(ə-​)rə-​blē How to pronounce suffer (audio) \ adverb
sufferer \ ˈsə-​fər-​ər How to pronounce suffer (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for suffer

bear, suffer, endure, abide, tolerate, stand mean to put up with something trying or painful. bear usually implies the power to sustain without flinching or breaking. forced to bear a tragic loss suffer often suggests acceptance or passivity rather than courage or patience in bearing. suffering many insults endure implies continuing firm or resolute through trials and difficulties. endured years of rejection abide suggests acceptance without resistance or protest. cannot abide their rudeness tolerate suggests overcoming or successfully controlling an impulse to resist, avoid, or resent something injurious or distasteful. refused to tolerate such treatment stand emphasizes even more strongly the ability to bear without discomposure or flinching. unable to stand teasing

Examples of suffer in a Sentence

He died instantly and did not suffer. He suffered a heart attack and died instantly. She suffered an injury during the game. We suffered a great deal during the war. I hate to see a child suffer. She suffered through another one of their long visits. The team suffered a defeat in the play-offs. Their relationship suffered because of her work.
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Recent Examples on the Web Now, the property — which was turned into the Native Malibu hotel in 2017 only to suffer extensive damage in a 2018 fire — has been reborn as Hotel June Malibu (rooms from $425 a night, 28920 Pacific Coast Highway, thehoteljune.com). Kathryn Romeyn, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Jan. 2022 The only character to suffer in the new arrangement is Kat, who replaces Cassie as the odd woman out. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 9 Jan. 2022 Three of the largest companies in the cruise ship industry, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival, all lost money in 2021 and are expected to suffer losses again this year. Fortune, 7 Jan. 2022 Children tend to suffer less serious illness from COVID-19 than adults. Lauran Neergaard And Mike Stobbe, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Jan. 2022 However, tech stocks to appear to suffer disproportionately as the Fed becomes more hawkish. Simon Moore, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Children tend to suffer less serious illness from COVID-19 than adults. chicagotribune.com, 5 Jan. 2022 However, non-white patients are presumed, because of their non-whiteness, to suffer from social inequalities that exacerbate their likelihood of illness and death, and are therefore instantly eligible for them. The Editors, National Review, 5 Jan. 2022 Children tend to suffer less serious illness from COVID-19 than adults. Time, 3 Jan. 2022

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for suffer

Middle English sufferen, suffren, borrowed from Anglo-French suffrir, going back to Vulgar Latin *sufferīre, re-formation of Latin sufferre "to submit to, endure," from suf-, assimilated form of sub- sub- + ferre "to carry, bear" — more at bear entry 2

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Time Traveler for suffer

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

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Dictionary Entries Near suffer

suffect

suffer

sufferance

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Suffer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suffer. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for suffer

suffer

verb

English Language Learners Definition of suffer

: to experience pain, illness, or injury
: to experience something unpleasant (such as defeat, loss, or damage)
: to become worse because of being badly affected by something

suffer

verb
suf·​fer | \ ˈsə-fər How to pronounce suffer (audio) \
suffered; suffering

Kids Definition of suffer

1 : to feel or endure pain, illness, or injury She suffers from arthritis.
2 : to experience something unpleasant Wilbur was merely suffering the doubts and fears that often go with finding a new friend.— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web
3 : to bear loss or damage Business suffered during the storm.
4 : to become worse His grades are suffering.
5 : permit entry 1 sense 1 "I have done what man could. Suffer me to go."— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Other Words from suffer

sufferer \ ˈsə-​fər-​ər \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on suffer

Nglish: Translation of suffer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of suffer for Arabic Speakers

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