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 Healthy young people can tolerate low oxygen saturation for a long time without difficulty, says Dr. Kaufman. Claire Gillespie,, "'Silent Hypoxia' Is Making Some Coronavirus Patients Critically Ill—Here's Why It's So Dangerous," 23 Apr. 2020 The psychological ramifications of anxiety can be even harder to tolerate. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "How to Help Someone Struggling With Anxiety," 23 Apr. 2020 Here government officials are tolerated, not beloved. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "From healing hearts to stealing hearts: Jordan’s ‘Dr. Fauci’," 15 Apr. 2020 Find a product that’s suited to your skin’s needs in the moment (like a clay mask for a breakout) and test it on a small area first, or use for less time than recommended, to be sure your skin can tolerate it. Jillian Vieira,, "Could Self-Quarantine Be The Culprit Behind Your Breakouts?," 5 Apr. 2020 That model, in combination with three others, shows a wide range depending on how Alaskans apply social distancing measures and tolerate them: anywhere from the end of April until July, Zink said. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska records 14 more COVID-19 cases as governor takes steps to stabilize economy," 1 Apr. 2020 Police tolerate it as long as the workers don’t get into fights or become nuisances at local businesses. John Maccormack,, "Coronavirus deals a gut punch to day laborers," 18 Mar. 2020 Operating in the shadows VPNs prop up a shadow Internet that runs counter to China's domestic web, and—to some degree—Beijing tolerates it. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "China deploys a favorite weapon in the coronavirus crisis: A crackdown on VPNs," 25 Feb. 2020 Like the other members of its family, this hydrangea won’t tolerate drought; water it thoroughly. Grace Haynes, Southern Living, "We've Got Our Eyes on the Vibrant Let's Dance Rave Reblooming Hydrangea," 30 Apr. 2020

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

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tolerate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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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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