tol·​er·​ate ˈtä-lə-ˌrāt How to pronounce tolerate (audio)
tolerated; tolerating

transitive verb

: to allow to be or to be done without prohibition, hindrance, or contradiction
: to put up with
learn to tolerate one another
: to endure or resist the action of (something, such as a drug or food) without serious side effects or discomfort : exhibit physiological tolerance for
tolerative adjective
tolerator noun
Choose the Right Synonym for tolerate

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 tolerate in a Sentence

Our teacher will not tolerate bad grammar. Racist or sexist behavior will not be tolerated. I can't tolerate that noise. The government cannot tolerate lawlessness. How can you tolerate such laziness? These plants tolerate drought well. I don't like my boss, but I tolerate him.
Recent Examples on the Web Aggressive, pernicious and toxic, poison ivy thrives in moist soil and can tolerate numerous types of both soil and lighting for germination. Anthony Reardon, Kansas City Star, 12 July 2024 More importantly, the community itself didn’t tolerate awful behavior. Steven Levy, WIRED, 12 July 2024 Fencing was added to a portion of the cliff edge in 2018, although there is still plenty of exposed, plunging drop-offs for those of us who can tolerate that sort of thing. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 11 July 2024 Here’s what to know: Keep the core cool The human body can’t tolerate its temperature reaching 43 degrees C (about 109.4 degrees F). Evan Bush, NBC News, 11 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for tolerate 

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

Word History


Latin toleratus, past participle of tolerare to endure, put up with; akin to Old English tholian to bear, Latin tollere to lift up, latus carried (suppletive past participle of ferre), Greek tlēnai to bear

First Known Use

1524, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of tolerate was in 1524

Dictionary Entries Near tolerate

Cite this Entry

“Tolerate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


tol·​er·​ate ˈtäl-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce tolerate (audio)
tolerated; tolerating
: to allow something to be or be done without making a move to stop it : put up with
refused to tolerate such treatment
: to withstand the action of
plants that tolerate drought
tolerate a drug

Medical Definition


transitive verb
tol·​er·​ate ˈtäl-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce tolerate (audio)
tolerated; tolerating
: to endure or resist the action of (as a drug or food) without serious side effects or discomfort : exhibit physiological tolerance for
a premature baby … does not tolerate fats very wellH. R. Litchfield & L. H. Dembo

More from Merriam-Webster on tolerate

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