suffer

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from suffer

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

Recent Examples on the Web

My wife’s aunt is in her late 80s and suffers from dementia. Amy Dickinson, The Mercury News, "Ask Amy: I get the sense her fiancé is much more attracted to men," 14 Aug. 2019 My wife's aunt is in her late 80s and suffers from dementia. Ask Amy, oregonlive.com, "Ask Amy: Let’s think this family secret through to its possible conclusion and see if that changes minds," 14 Aug. 2019 Connecticut’s ever-shrinking dairy industry was suffering from low milk prices and soaring production costs last year and things have only gotten worse in 2019, a group of top farmers and agricultural experts told lawmakers Tuesday. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "Dozens of farms lost in the last decade as hard times continue for Connecticut’s dairy industry," 13 Aug. 2019 His family and attorney say Neely suffers from mental illness, and the Galveston Police Department is familiar with him. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, "Attorney demands body cam footage of officers on horses leading black man by rope," 12 Aug. 2019 The victim was found suffering from at least one gunshot wound, police spokesman Shawn Vinson said. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, "Person shot in Halethorpe home, Baltimore County police say," 12 Aug. 2019 This could mean anything from experiencing mild skin irritation to suffering from an allergic reaction to dealing with breakouts. Olivia Fleming & Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Ultimate Guide to Clean Beauty," 12 Aug. 2019 The star of The Wizard of Oz suffered from an eating disorder before the phrase was coined. David Blistein, Time, "America's War on Drugs Has Treated People Unequally Since Its Beginning," 12 Aug. 2019 Officers responding to the call found four victims in the street, all suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, said police Officer John Buttle. Karen Kucher, San Diego Union-Tribune, "4 injured in Valencia Park shooting," 12 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about suffer

Statistics for suffer

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for suffer

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Other Words from suffer

sufferer \ ˈsə-​fər-​ər \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on suffer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with suffer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for suffer

Spanish Central: Translation of suffer

Nglish: Translation of suffer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of suffer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on suffer

What made you want to look up suffer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a usually brief trip or an expedition

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!