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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, which in this case means if the pace of updates seems unrealistically fast—and Fortnite’s has for a while—then someone’s probably suffering for it. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: A first look at Vampire: The Masquerade 2 (sort-of) and Overwatch's new script editor," 22 Apr. 2019 If your loved one has been suffering through ads on the free-tier of a music streaming service, a gift card can bump them up to a premium subscription. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "Still need to buy a gift? Here are some last minute digital essentials," 21 Dec. 2018 When a 5-year-old girl in Shanghai suffered brain damage late last year after falling off a bunk bed, millions of strangers all over China helped foot her surgical bills. WSJ, "Can’t Afford Surgery? In China, Millions Chip In Half a Penny to Cover You," 20 Apr. 2019 According to a tweet by SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the booster wasn’t lost completely but did suffer damage from the fall and the water. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX Loses its Rocket Booster to Rough Seas," 16 Apr. 2019 Poponak, the Goldman Sachs analyst, said however there is a risk that Boeing orders could suffer for the next few years. David Koenig, The Seattle Times, "Southwest doesn’t plan to use Boeing Max jets until August," 14 Apr. 2019 During the season two premiere of the ABC reality show, fans learned that the country singer and contestant Nick Townsend have both suffered unimaginable losses in their families. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Watch the Emotional 'American Idol' Audition That Brought Luke Bryan to Tears," 4 Mar. 2019 Dee Dee never told Gypsy her real age, convincing her daughter and their community that Gypsy suffered from leukemia, muscular dystrophy, and a host of other debilitating conditions. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "What Gypsy Rose Blanchard's Stepmom Says Hulu's "The Act" Got Wrong," 4 Apr. 2019 Roughly as many — 28 percent — say preschool children suffer with a working mother; 53 percent said the same in 1985. Hannah Fingerhut, The Seattle Times, "Poll: Most see women equal to men in politics," 29 Mar. 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.

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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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Statistics for suffer

Last Updated

11 May 2019

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Time Traveler for suffer

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

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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

Other Words from suffer

sufferer \ ˈsə-​fər-​ər \ noun

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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

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