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

Examples of tolerance in a Sentence

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 The camaraderie between the trio is clear, as is their tolerance for withstanding the elements after months spent dirty and wet, facing jet-engine-level winds often produced by actual jet engines. EW.com, 11 July 2024 People who use niacin regularly can also develop a tolerance to it over time. Mark Gurarie, Health, 10 July 2024 The 'Today' show anchor is a man of many interests—candle-making, gospel music, mindfulness—but his tolerance for tacos is running low. Grace Bastidas, Parents, 8 July 2024 To determine how the naloxone companion drug, which researchers are calling compound 368, might boost naloxone’s effectiveness, researchers conducted an experiment on pain tolerance in mice, said Jay McLaughlin, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Florida. Veronica Roseborough, Los Angeles Times, 3 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for tolerance 

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

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 23 Jul. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!