tol·​er·​a·​ble | \ ˈtä-lə-rə-bəl How to pronounce tolerable (audio) , 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 How to pronounce tolerability (audio) , ˌtäl-​rə-​ \ noun
tolerably \ ˈtä-​lə-​rə-​blē How to pronounce tolerably (audio) , 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 Human activity has already warmed the planet by about 1 degree Celsius, and fulfilling only the Paris commitments is likely to result in a temperature increase of 3 degrees — far beyond what scientists consider tolerable to humanity. Tony Barboza,, "Q&A: What is the UN climate change summit?," 23 Sep. 2019 The risks are tolerable: your chances of being fired or retiring in any year are about 10%. The Economist, "Meet the new boss What it takes to be a CEO in the 2020s," 6 Feb. 2020 The Ninth Circuit’s remedy in the O’Bannon case nonetheless proved tolerable for the NCAA. Michael Mccann,, "What's Next After California Signs Game Changer Fair Pay to Play Act Into Law?," 30 Sep. 2019 Like Monday, humidity remains quite low, so the heat will be quite tolerable. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Sunny, warm and comfortable for the rest of the week," 24 Sep. 2019 The inconveniences of her ramshackle house that seem tolerable in the daytime become menacing threats when darkness falls. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "'They’re just patching it up': Tenants lack electricity, water in homes Joe Hogsett calls 'transformed'," 1 July 2019 And the families who sent out a migrant saw their daily intake of calories shoot up from 1,400 a head to 2,200; that is, from the edge of starvation to tolerable comfort. The Economist, "Domestic migrationWhy people should leave the countryside," 14 Nov. 2019 The lower resolution of the Switch screen makes these downgrades a little more tolerable, in my opinion. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "“The Switcher” is real: Witcher 3 on Switch is a blurry, tolerable compromise," 14 Oct. 2019 Reality check: Only Reality Check’s deep respect for the Cy-Hawk Rivalry makes ranking Iowa tolerable right now. San Diego Union-Tribune, "AP Top 25 Reality Check: Super 6 has rankings on lockdown," 7 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for tolerable

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tolerable

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tolerable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce tolerable (audio)

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 How to pronounce tolerable (audio) \

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

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