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 Per the report, that speed bias manifests in lots of different ways, like a greater tolerance for making risky bets, or more buy-in for volatile asset classes like cryptocurrencies and meme stocks. Melvin Backman, Quartz, 17 Feb. 2024 The procedure itself requires a higher tolerance for weirdness than for pain. Zoey Poll, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 For new kratom users or those with low tolerance, start with a low dose, usually 1-2 grams. Sponsored Content, The Mercury News, 16 Feb. 2024 The answer depends on your tolerance for risk, your team's technical expertise, your timeline and a deep understanding of the trade-offs involved. Martin Kihn, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Its thick fleece coat ensures heat conservation, and a lack of functional sweat glands bolsters its cold tolerance. Jack Knudson, Discover Magazine, 6 Feb. 2024 Tamping down hostilities is the outgrowth of operations that raise the stakes of a conflict beyond the aggressor’s risk tolerance. The Editors, National Review, 5 Feb. 2024 In the kitchen of a co-living space popular with coders and entrepreneurs, Li Bo, a 30-year-old programmer, recalled his own experience with the limits of Dali’s tolerance. Gilles Sabrié Vivian Wang, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2024 This craft relies heavily on fine motor skills and coordination—and your child will also learn patience and frustration tolerance. Nicole Harris, Parents, 3 Feb. 2024 See More

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 24 Feb. 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

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