tolerance

noun

tol·​er·​ance ˈtä-lə-rən(t)s How to pronounce tolerance (audio)
ˈtäl-rən(t)s
1
: capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina
2
a
: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own
b
: the act of allowing something : toleration
3
: the allowable deviation from a standard
especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece
4
a(1)
: the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (such as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure
developed a tolerance to painkillers
also : the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen
(2)
: relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor
b
: the maximum amount of a pesticide residue that may lawfully remain on or in food

Example Sentences

a tolerance for other lifestyles The plants have a high tolerance for heat. Some patients gradually develop a tolerance for the drug and need to be given a larger dose. Some patients develop greater tolerance for the drug's effects.
Recent Examples on the Web China had taken a zero-tolerance approach to the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 17 Jan. 2023 For most of the past two years, foreign officials and business executives grappled with Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping’s unflinching insistence on a zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, 9 Jan. 2023 In many ways, the new policy was also a vindication of health experts and others who had previously been silenced, or ignored, for questioning China’s zero-tolerance approach. John Liu, New York Times, 8 Dec. 2022 The vast majority of China’s population may eventually contract Covid-19, a senior health-policy adviser warned, as Beijing makes concerted steps toward dismantling its zero-tolerance approach to the virus and living with higher case levels. Jacob Gu, Fortune, 8 Dec. 2022 China's zero-tolerance approach to covid-19 has been promoted by China's leader, Xi Jinping. Arkansas Online, 8 Nov. 2022 What’s common across Covenant Eyes, Accountable2You, and EverAccountable is their zero-tolerance approach to pornography. WIRED, 23 Sep. 2022 Specially, the use of a racial slur at any of our athletic events is absolutely unacceptable and BYU Athletics holds a zero tolerance approach to this behavior. Emily Adams, USA TODAY, 3 Sep. 2022 Specifically, the use of a racial slur at any of our athletic events is absolutely unacceptable and BYU Athletics holds a zero-tolerance approach to this behavior. Victoria J. Arancio, ABC News, 30 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tolerance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tolerance was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near tolerance

Cite this Entry

“Tolerance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tolerance. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

tolerance

noun
tol·​er·​ance ˈtäl(-ə)-rən(t)s How to pronounce tolerance (audio)
1
a
: ability to put up with something harmful or unpleasant
b
: the ability to adjust to a food or drug so that its effects are experienced less strongly
2
: sympathy for or acceptance of feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from one's own

Medical Definition

tolerance

noun
tol·​er·​ance ˈtäl(-ə)-rən(t)s How to pronounce tolerance (audio)
1
: the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure
developed a tolerance to painkillers
2
: the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen

More from Merriam-Webster on tolerance

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