Definition of suffer in English:

suffer

verb

[with object]
  • 1Experience or be subjected to (something bad or unpleasant)

    ‘he suffered intense pain’
    no object ‘he'd suffered a great deal since his arrest’
    • ‘I feel like I should wear my battle wounds with pride, flaunt my sufferings, but I don't think I have suffered.’
    • ‘Older children may suffer personality changes from mild to the extreme.’
    • ‘This really struck a cord with me, she was deciding whether or not to go abroad to a country that would allow it but in the end she became a lot worse and suffered.’
    • ‘As an openly gay man in a much less tolerant era, he suffered constant abuse and rejection in his quest to ‘make them understand’.’
    • ‘All the poems are short paeans to the indomitable courage of ordinary suffering people.’
    • ‘The joys and sufferings here are meant to test how we behave under different circumstances in life.’
    • ‘No matter who deserves the blame for the blackout, the reality is people suffered, and so did the economy.’
    • ‘I'm not sure the disbarment incrementally adds that much more to the punishment he's personally suffered.’
    • ‘That's the first political defeat he's suffered in 20 years in power.’
    • ‘Both sides suffered many casualties during their engagement.’
    • ‘He learnt a great deal about the sufferings, the courage and the strengths of the East European churches.’
    • ‘Too often, it's the children who appear to suffer most.’
    • ‘They talk to us about their struggles in their native land and all that they endured and suffered to get to this country.’
    • ‘Japanese troops poured into the wartime capital city of Nanjing on 13 December 1937, after suffering heavy casualties in Shanghai.’
    • ‘But despite their own personal suffering the couple were determined to give a loving home to children who so desperately needed it.’
    • ‘Mr Thompson, who had an existing heart condition, suffered a mild heart attack following the assault but his consultant was unable to confirm the attack caused it.’
    • ‘The rest of us see suffering people who need help.’
    • ‘They say the ministry has failed to stem the tide of the disease and also shown a considerable lack of concern for suffering farmers.’
    • ‘The physical and psychological sufferings of survivors tend to pale in comparison to the total number of victims.’
    • ‘It gives me much pleasure to help keep open Francis House and other sanctuaries for suffering children whose parents can ill afford the ways and means of looking after them.’
    hardship, distress, misery, wretchedness, adversity, tribulation
    hurt, ache, be in pain, feel pain, be racked with pain, endure agony, agonize, be distressed, be in distress, experience hardship, be upset, be miserable, be wretched
    undergo, experience, be subjected to, receive, encounter, meet with, endure, face, live through, go through, sustain, bear
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1suffer fromno object Be affected by or subject to (an illness or ailment)
      ‘his daughter suffered from agoraphobia’
      • ‘Members suffer from illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.’
      • ‘It is an active painkiller and can help those who suffer from illnesses such as muscular dystrophy.’
      • ‘She suffered from a mystery illness that left her unable to breathe without a ventilator.’
      • ‘She suffers from motor neurone disease and is experiencing the disintegration of her body.’
      • ‘The first Claimant is now 33 years old; he is a deaf mute and suffers from mental illness.’
      • ‘The child was not suffering from any physical ailment which could be cured through surgery.’
      • ‘My husband suffers from angina so I was very worried about him, but it seems he'll be all right.’
      • ‘Fran was admitted to hospital last weekend suffering from a severe viral infection.’
      • ‘I have suffered from myopia or shortsightedness all my life and things are getting worse.’
      • ‘Although the cause of death is not known he was not suffering from any illness, his company said.’
      • ‘The illness that he suffered from became progressively worse and led to blindness.’
      • ‘If you suffer from jaw joint problems you may have several of these symptoms or you may just have one.’
      • ‘Police called an ambulance as the woman suffered from emphysema but she was not taken to hospital.’
      • ‘He finally lost his battle against leukemia after suffering from the illness for two years.’
      • ‘He became interested in the subject after working with a dental nurse who suffered from migraines.’
      • ‘Two fights broke out and a man had to be taken to hospital by ambulance suffering from a head injury.’
      • ‘He suffered from increasing physical and mental frailty in his last few years and lived in a nursing home.’
      • ‘If you have allergic asthma, you or other family members may well also suffer from eczema or hay fever.’
      • ‘The woman was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and was later released.’
      • ‘Sid suffers from a mental illness and spends his days rocking in a chair.’
      be afflicted by, be affected by, be troubled with, have, have trouble with
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2no object Become or appear worse in quality.
      ‘his relationship with Anne did suffer’
      • ‘You need hundreds of megabytes of spare disk space to store your movie, you can't use a Mac and if you try to enlarge the image (using a media player), picture quality suffers.’
      • ‘We are in an era of higher transport and labour costs, yet they are going to transport the milk further, which is going to take more time, with the quality of milk suffering.’
      • ‘Global support for Olympics will suffer if Games appear tainted’
      • ‘People with hearing problems in Bradford say their quality of life is suffering as they wait up to two years to be fitted with a hearing aid.’
      • ‘Bird dismisses fears that editorial quality will suffer.’
      • ‘Without it, quality will suffer at every level from the standard of research, thinking and writing to the number of typos.’
      • ‘Our quality of life is suffering and we had hoped the inquiry would put a stop to all this.’
      • ‘Quality television programmes will suffer as a ratings war between BBC and ITV sidelines them in favour of soaps, an independent producer warned.’
      • ‘I used to be so fast that sometimes quality would suffer, but I think I've got over that.’
      • ‘Dentists blame the terms imposed on them by the NHS regulations, saying they are having to treat too many patients in too short a time, and that quality of service is suffering.’
      • ‘There's little continuity to team rosters, and the quality of play suffers greatly.’
      • ‘These tracks were all recorded in the 1930s or 1940s, so, of course, the quality suffers through primitive recording.’
      • ‘His appointments shape the country's main broadcaster, though there are criticisms that quality has suffered on his watch.’
      • ‘Health care workers have been fired and laid off in huge numbers, while quality and access suffers for it.’
      • ‘Murray says that range could be extended to as far as 7 kilometres, although obviously the quality of service suffers over such distances.’
      • ‘Pools and the buildings became shabby; even the water quality suffered.’
      • ‘Limiting the selection in this way ensures that the food is freshly prepared and that the chefs stick to the specialities they cook best so that neither taste nor quality suffers.’
      • ‘One elderly woman who suffers from angina and is too frightened to be identified, said her quality of life is suffering as a result of the gang's actions.’
      • ‘This lets them compete on price with the big producers from Norway and Chile - but the downside is that the quality of the fish suffers.’
      • ‘Graffiti is a nuisance, it lowers the tone of the neighbourhood and everybody's quality of life suffers.’
      be impaired, be damaged, deteriorate, fall off, decline, get worse
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3archaic no object Undergo martyrdom or execution.
      • ‘If God himself underwent suffering and death as the necessary prerequisite to redemption, then how must those who follow this God act?’
      • ‘Many today, even among the leaders of the religious world, claim that Christ died a martyr's death, suffering merely for his beliefs.’
      • ‘This is a season for remembering that Jesus lived and suffered and died for us.’
      • ‘A committed Catholic, Gibson's choice of screen roles has always veered towards suffering, sacrifice and martyrdom.’
      • ‘Christians have endured suffering, persecution and rejection, all because of the assurance of that city.’
  • 2archaic Tolerate.

    ‘France will no longer suffer the existing government’
    tolerate, put up with, bear, brook, stand, abide, endure, support, accept, weather
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with object and infinitive Allow (someone) to do something.
      ‘my conscience would not suffer me to accept any more’
      • ‘I accept that I suffered the defendant to supply heroin from my premises although I informed him on numerous occasions that I did not want him to do so.’
      allow, permit, let, give leave to, give assent to, sanction, give one's blessing to
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • not suffer fools gladly

    • Be impatient or intolerant towards people one regards as foolish or unintelligent.

      ‘he was a perfectionist who didn't suffer fools gladly’
      • ‘He doesn't suffer fools gladly, and he will not put up with prima-donnas.’
      • ‘She's very easy-going but she doesn't suffer fools gladly.’
      • ‘A party insider agrees that she is dynamic: ‘She is focused and intelligent, and doesn't suffer fools gladly.’’
      • ‘While he doesn't suffer fools gladly or mince words when something annoys him, those who know him well swear by Jagjit Singh's generosity and purity of heart.’
      • ‘He admits he is impatient and doesn't suffer fools gladly, but, contrary to the impression given of him in the press, is ‘prepared to listen to people.’’
      • ‘It is said she doesn't suffer fools gladly, that the public's perception of her is fearsome.’
      • ‘Naipaul, awarded the Nobel Prize in 2001, is a famously bilious traveler; he doesn't suffer fools gladly, and he never romanticizes the grim conditions and hypocrisies that he encounters.’
      • ‘It shows a determined woman, sure of her opinions; one who doesn't suffer fools gladly.’
      • ‘She doesn't suffer fools gladly, although she can charm anybody.’
      • ‘She's bright and breezy, but the odd cadence slips in that seems to suggest she doesn't suffer fools gladly.’

Origin

Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French suffrir, from Latin sufferre, from sub- ‘from below’ + ferre ‘to bear’.

Pronunciation

suffer

/ˈsʌfə/