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 The might of Russia must prevail at all costs; America’s economy should not suffer just because lives are being lost. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "What The Great Reveals About Trump’s Pandemic Denial," 21 May 2020 The woman, Erica Price, suffered gunshot wounds to her arm and chest and told officers the gunman was Mills, according to a statement from Mayfield police. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Hagen Mills, 'Baskets' actor, dead at 29," 21 May 2020 The cook suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, according to the warrant. Justin Carissimo, CBS News, "Man accused of shooting Waffle House employee one day after he was told to wear a face-covering," 20 May 2020 Iran’s economy is suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic and the collapse in oil prices. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Iran’s Gasoline for Maduro," 20 May 2020 Back in 2017, Equifax infamously suffered a data breach that exposed devastating levels of personal and financial information of about 147 million Americans. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Your Equifax settlement $125 isn’t coming, but banks get their $5.5M," 19 May 2020 Most suffer only mild illness, if any, while others require emergency-room care. Fox News, "Smoking increases SARS-CoV-2 receptors in the lungs, researchers find," 19 May 2020 In 2019, Sudfeld suffered a broken wrist in the Eagles’ preseason opener and missed the entire season. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Philadelphia Eagles QBs foresee no drama in Jalen Hurts addition," 19 May 2020 In February of last year, a resident at the Garden Terrace Alzheimer’s Center in Fort Worth, Texas, suffered a bout of nausea and vomiting. Bloomberg.com, "Nursing Homes Face Catastrophic Mix of Virus and Lax Oversight," 19 May 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for suffer

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Suffer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suffer. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for suffer

suffer

verb
How to pronounce suffer (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for suffer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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