tol·er·ate | \ˈtä-lə-ˌrāt \
tolerated; tolerating

Definition of tolerate 

transitive verb

1a : to allow to be or to be done without prohibition, hindrance, or contradiction

b : to put up with learn to tolerate one another

2 : to endure or resist the action of (something, such as a drug or food) without serious side effects or discomfort : exhibit physiological tolerance for

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Other Words from tolerate

tolerative \ˈtä-lə-ˌrā-tiv \ adjective
tolerator \ˈtä-lə-ˌrā-tər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for tolerate


allow, let, permit, suffer


bar, block, constrain, prevent

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Under the court’s Trump-specific analysis, just about any official indignity that unduly burdens the lives of minorities or marginalized groups within our borders may well be tolerated. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "It’s Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Now," 26 June 2018 Herschman, who said his restaurant employs and attracts a diverse group of people and does not tolerate discrimination in his business, offered an apology and said the situation was handled poorly. Justin Madden,, "Police called to Cleveland Heights restaurant after brunch dispute," 11 May 2018 Mods are widely tolerated, even celebrated, on YouTube. Sarah Jeong, The Verge, "The curious case of the Fortnite cheater," 9 May 2018 Hateful conduct is inexcusable and will not be tolerated at Towson University., "Towson University statement on possible hate crime," 1 May 2018 Bullying of any kind is not tolerated in our schools or on our school buses. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Virginia School District Investigating Video Showing 7-Year-Old Being Bullied on School Bus," 18 Apr. 2018 Chemical weapons attacks against innocent men, women, and children cannot be tolerated. Jessica Lee, The Seattle Times, "Here’s what some WA Congress members are saying about the missile strikes in Syria," 14 Apr. 2018 Sarri didn't win a major title at Napoli, however, and that would not be tolerated at Chelsea. Steve Douglas,, "Chelsea sack manager Conte after two seasons," 13 July 2018 Each of us has a responsibility to represent The University of Alabama in a first-class way, and failure to meet those standards can’t be tolerated. Nihal Kolur,, "Alabama Freshman Linebacker VanDarius Cowan Dismissed From Team After Bar Fight, Arrest," 9 July 2018

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

1524, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for tolerate

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

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Statistics for tolerate

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tolerate

The first known use of tolerate was in 1524

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More Definitions for tolerate



English Language Learners Definition of tolerate

: to allow (something that is bad, unpleasant, etc.) to exist, happen, or be done

: to experience (something harmful or unpleasant) without being harmed

: to accept the feelings, behavior, or beliefs of (someone)


tol·er·ate | \ˈtä-lə-ˌrāt \
tolerated; tolerating

Kids Definition of tolerate

1 : to allow something to be or to be done without making a move to stop it Our teacher will tolerate a certain amount of giggling.

2 : to stand the action of These plants tolerate drought well.


transitive verb
tol·er·ate | \ˈtäl-ə-ˌrāt \
tolerated; tolerating

Medical Definition of tolerate 

: 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 well— H. R. Litchfield & L. H. Dembo

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Comments on tolerate

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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