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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web While the operations therefore look unlikely to suffer, at least in the short term, volumes leaving London send a signal that other city centers can compete effectively and support comparable services without hiccups. Ben Dummett, WSJ, "Brexit Forces Bankers to Shift Trading of European Stocks Out of London," 4 Jan. 2021 The two-story house appeared to suffer extensive damage on both floors along the side and rear. al, "Plane from Georgia crashes into Michigan home killing 3 family members," 3 Jan. 2021 During crises, champagne sales tend to suffer — with minor exceptions. Washington Post, "Fewer people than usual will pop bottles of bubbly at midnight. Pour one out for France’s Champagne region.," 31 Dec. 2020 And with more than 200 players across the country opting out before and during the season, the competitiveness and the quality of the games has seemed to suffer as well, which has led already declining TV ratings to nosedive. New York Times, "Virus Disrupts College Football Playoff Even Before Kickoff," 31 Dec. 2020 The overcrowding is already causing the quality of healthcare to suffer, Ghaly said. Los Angeles Times, "California hits new 1-day COVID-19 death record as hospitals plan for potential rationing," 30 Dec. 2020 The new limits come as Texas continues to suffer from rapid spread of the coronavirus throughout the state. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Texas attorney general sues city of Austin and mayor over lockdown orders," 30 Dec. 2020 Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa is known for his high-intensity tactics which, in the past, have sometimes caused his teams to suffer burnout at the end of the season. Ben Church, CNN, "Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani defends club tweet that led to online abuse of pundit Karen Carney," 30 Dec. 2020 Trump’s antitrust regulators, led by Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, loudly tried stopping AT&T from acquiring Time Warner in 2017—only to suffer a stinging defeat in court. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Under Biden, expect more scrutiny of Big Tech and mergers," 29 Dec. 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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Suffer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suffer. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on suffer

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