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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Should the concert lose money due to inclement weather or any other reason, the MSA would not suffer a loss, but the Orioles would. Hayes Gardner, Baltimore Sun, 4 May 2022 But a week later, the former president could suffer a major setback in his nearly year and a half long bid to oust Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, 4 May 2022 But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. John Shufeldt, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 The innocent may suffer in Serling’s dramatic universe, but the guilty enforcers get their comeuppance by the time of the twist ending. Colin Marshall, The New Yorker, 14 Apr. 2022 But Russians, too, will suffer the effects of this vicious information war waged by their own government. Jill Dougherty, CNN, 3 Apr. 2022 Her characters might suffer from a great many maladies but none more soul-draining than aesthetic poverty, none more unendurable than grayscale lives. Amy Brady, Scientific American, 1 Apr. 2022 Russia itself would certainly suffer deaths in the tens of millions, but in this scenario, a death count seems like a futile means of keeping score. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 29 Mar. 2022 Some characters—including Lulu, naturally—suffer from extreme paranoia, but the American government in this novel is always an open exploiter of its citizens (Lulu volunteered!), and otherwise kind of pleasant in its email correspondence. Lauren Oyler, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Statistics for suffer

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Suffer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suffer. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for suffer

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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