suf·​fer·​ance ˈsə-f(ə-)rən(t)s How to pronounce sufferance (audio)
: patient endurance
: consent or sanction implied by a lack of interference or failure to enforce a prohibition

Examples of sufferance in a Sentence

was pointedly reminded that he was at the private beach on sufferance and could be kicked out at any time spending a whole day with my airheaded sister-in-law is beyond sufferance
Recent Examples on the Web The Kirk Douglas, the smallest of the company’s three venues and ostensibly the most experimental, is the scrappy Culver City orphan, living at the sufferance of its older siblings at L.A.’s Music Center. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2023 Air India’s nationalization signaled that in independent India private enterprise would survive on the government’s sufferance. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, 14 Oct. 2021 In the music of Beethoven, there is such an ethical, moral integrity … and power and sufferance. Howard Reich,, 10 Sep. 2019 Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. Thomas Jefferson Et Al,, 4 July 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sufferance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English suffraunce, sufferaunce "affliction, endurance," borrowed from Anglo-French suffrance, suffraunce, borrowed from Late Latin sufferentia "endurance," from Latin sufferent-, sufferens, present participle of sufferre "to submit to, endure" + -ia -ia entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sufferance was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near sufferance

Cite this Entry

“Sufferance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


suf·​fer·​ance ˈsəf-(ə-)rən(t)s How to pronounce sufferance (audio)
: consent or approval implied by a lack of interference or failure to enforce a prohibition
: power or ability to put up with

Legal Definition


suf·​fer·​ance ˈsə-frəns, -fə-rəns How to pronounce sufferance (audio)
: consent or sanction implied by a lack of interference or failure to enforce a prohibition see also estate at sufferance at estate sense 1, tenancy at sufferance at tenancy

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