tol·​er·​ate | \ ˈtä-lə-ˌrāt How to pronounce tolerate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce tolerative (audio) \ adjective
tolerator \ ˈtä-​lə-​ˌrā-​tər How to pronounce tolerator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for tolerate



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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 Pedialyte is beneficial, as formula and milk are thicker and harder for children to tolerate. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville hospitals seeing increase in dangerous respiratory virus in children," 22 Nov. 2019 The soldier was unable to tolerate an inpatient PTSD program at a private hospital near the base and he was allowed to go on remote WTU status in order to be treated at the Cincinnati VAMC partial hospitalization program (PHP). Keith Bierygolick,, "10 years after Fort Hood: The forgotten soldier, and the father who is still fighting his war," 5 Nov. 2019 In a news conference on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence said that America was not going to tolerate the invasion any further and called on Syria to stand down, end the violence and come to the negotiating table. Fox News, "Bill Bennett: I don't think I can defend Trump's policy on Syria," 15 Oct. 2019 Carter’s closest relationships, excluding Roy, were with girls who seemed barely to tolerate her. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Cultural Fault Lines of I Love You, Now Die," 10 July 2019 Booties provide added protection for their feet if your dog will tolerate them. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "'They're like children': How to keep pets safe amid record-breaking cold weather," 12 Nov. 2019 Adam Carmel, PhD, clinical assistant professor of psychology at the University of Washington previously told Health that the form of psychotherapy or talk therapy, teaches people new ways of regulating their emotions and tolerating distress. Leah Groth,, "Lady Gaga Reveals She Started DBT Therapy, Olanzapine After Having a Psychotic Break in New Interview," 6 Nov. 2019 The defense contended that because the couple was planning to marry, the fiancee might have held the same biases or at the very least tolerated them. oregonlive, "Portland aggravated murder conviction reversed after defense barred from asking key witness whether she was racist," 24 Oct. 2019 Two very different women fall for Wheeler’s shtick and a third tolerates it to the point of platonic friendship, at least. Chris Jones,, "Review: ‘Linda Vista’ is Steppenwolf back on Broadway, but out of step," 10 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for tolerate

Time Traveler

The first known use of tolerate was in 1524

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Statistics for tolerate

Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Tolerate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More Definitions for tolerate


How to pronounce tolerate (audio)

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 How to pronounce tolerate (audio) \
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.
tol·​er·​ate | \ ˈtäl-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce tolerate (audio) \
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 constrict the range or activity of

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