tol·​er·​ant ˈtä-lə-rənt How to pronounce tolerant (audio)
: willing to accept the beliefs, feelings, habits, or behaviors of another group, culture, etc. as legitimate even when they differ from one's own
Despite his strong opinions, he was tolerant enough to be friends with very different kinds of people …Ben Sixsmith
American society progressed, leaving the bluenose mentality behind. Actually, today's tolerant values, accepting yesterday's outcasts, are more decent, fair, and humane.James A. Haught
Certainly the tribal nature of political and social behavior … is a key to understanding the durability of despotic regimes and the absence of tolerant pluralism.David K. Shipler
often used with of
The eight-term California Republican built a reputation in House leadership … as a friendly backslapper increasingly tolerant of his party's most hardline members.Michael Warren and Melanie Zanona
: permitting or accepting something (such as a behavior or belief) that one does not like
tolerant parents
often used with of
When it comes to judging friends and lovers, though, people tend not to be so tolerant of contradiction. A lover who betrays us reveals his entire character in a new and damning light. "I thought I knew you!" we cry, in a howl of anger and bewilderment.Edward Dolnick
The southerner is usually tolerant of those weaknesses that proceed from innocence …Flannery O'Connor
I am impressed, when I teach in the United States, by the readiness of students and colleagues to perform boring tasks like reading ill-written but essential texts. … British academic life, by contrast, is markedly less tolerant of tedium; French too.George Watson
Holmes was not prone to friendship, but he was tolerant of the big Scotchman, and smiled at the sight of him.Arthur Conan Doyle
… an intellectual context that was tolerant of barbarism and inhumanity, or even justified it.Richard Wolin
: exhibiting tolerance (see tolerance sense 4a) for something (such as a drug or an environmental factor)
The goal of allergy shots is to render a person tolerant to an allergen when it is encountered.Jane E. Brody
These organisms aren't just cold tolerant, they're freeze resistant.Robert C. Cowen
When bacteria become tolerant to these compounds, they sometimes also become less sensitive to certain antibiotic medicines.Coco Ballantyne
tolerantly adverb

Examples of tolerant in a Sentence

this job requires a tolerant person who is used to dealing with complaints and angry customers a tolerant acceptance of the terrible way that his wife has always treated him
Recent Examples on the Web Gill’s benevolent steadfastness is supported by his loving, tolerant wife (Shailene Woodley) but mocked by his shiftless brother (a very funny Pete Davidson), who urges him to cash in. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2023 And aren’t Christians supposed to be kind and tolerant? cleveland, 12 Sep. 2023 Being there, soaking up the cultural aspects from pirate days to the writers to the tolerant lifestyle the island had, affected me. Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 6 Sep. 2023 The latter are cold tolerant, but no study shows selective forces at play. WIRED, 26 Aug. 2023 The current political and social conditions leave virtually no alternative for the regime other than to become less tolerant of even minor suspicious activities, such as any suggestion of the need to reconcile with the Ukrainians, never mind overt opposition to the war. Tatiana Stanovaya, Foreign Affairs, 8 Aug. 2023 Asian clams, however, are not tolerant of heavily polluted waters, Sorensen said. The Arizona Republic, 9 Aug. 2023 Around this time, the Kremlin became less tolerant of the warring rebel factions running around the separatist territories. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, 31 July 2023 Link is tolerant of young scholars — young and untenured scholars — who hedge. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 17 July 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of tolerant was in 1746

Dictionary Entries Near tolerant

Cite this Entry

“Tolerant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


tol·​er·​ant ˈtäl(-ə)-rənt How to pronounce tolerant (audio)
: showing tolerance
tolerantly adverb

Medical Definition


tol·​er·​ant -rənt How to pronounce tolerant (audio)
: exhibiting tolerance (as for a drug or physiological insult)
lactose tolerant

More from Merriam-Webster on tolerant

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