tol·​er·​a·​ble | \ˈtä-lə-rə-bəl, ˈtäl-rə-;ˈtä-lər-bəl\

Definition of tolerable 

1 : capable of being borne or endured tolerable pain

2 : moderately good or agreeable : passable a tolerable singing voice

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Other Words from tolerable

tolerability \ ˌtä-​lə-​rə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē , ˌtäl-​rə-​ \ noun
tolerably \ ˈtä-​lə-​rə-​blē , ˈtäl-​rə-​ ; ˈtä-​lər-​blē \ adverb

Examples of tolerable in a Sentence

The heat was tolerable for only a short time. stubbing your toe is at least a more tolerable pain than breaking your foot

Recent Examples on the Web

In other words, a four-pound pack that makes a 35-pound load feel tolerable is preferable to a three-pound pack that turns the same load into a torture device. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 Although the District declared a heat emergency, Saturday’s 91 degree high temperature in Washington seemed often tolerable to old summer hands. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Saturday was hot in the District, but it feel much hotter this week," 30 June 2018 Turnovers: Good for the most part, the Warriors committing a tolerable seven through three quarters. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors win, with an emotional farewell to the Spurs," 24 Apr. 2018 Any change would risk defeat, which is less tolerable than perpetual stalemate, in which the only decisive loser is the Afghan population. New York Times, "Why Attack Afghan Civilians? Creating Chaos Rewards Taliban," 28 Jan. 2018 Games, like any other type of art, can make life more interesting and more tolerable. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Stop Expecting Games to Build Empathy," 27 June 2018 However, her aim in ousting Cushing and giving orders in her husband’s name is to make life more tolerable, not to overturn the state, and her tenuous power rests in ruling through her husband. Rena Gross, Billboard, "12 Big Revelations From 'Handmaid's Tale' Season 2, Episode 7," 30 May 2018 The pain in his still slightly discolored fingers is present but tolerable. Mike Malloy,, "JJ Schwarz could return to bolster Gators during CWS," 17 June 2018 Stickers, cards, and trivia apps on cellphones are all simple ways to keep children engaged and distracted while making wait times more tolerable for all involved. Dr. Elizabeth Pulgaron, miamiherald, "To go or not to go: How to make traveling with young children enjoyable | Miami Herald," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tolerable.' 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 tolerable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for tolerable

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tolerable

The first known use of tolerable was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for tolerable



English Language Learners Definition of tolerable

: unpleasant but able to be accepted or tolerated

: good enough to be accepted but not very good


tol·​er·​a·​ble | \ˈtä-lə-rə-bəl \

Kids Definition of tolerable

1 : capable of being put up with I still have pain, but it's tolerable.

2 : fairly good tolerable weather

Other Words from tolerable

tolerably \ -​blē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on tolerable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tolerable

Spanish Central: Translation of tolerable

Nglish: Translation of tolerable for Spanish Speakers

Comments on tolerable

What made you want to look up tolerable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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