Definition of tolerance in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.

    ‘the tolerance of corruption’
    ‘an advocate of religious tolerance’
    • ‘What they may or may not understand is that there is probably a limit to public opinion's tolerance of what's going on.’
    • ‘A unique and redeeming feature of Hinduism through the ages has been tolerance, a certain willingness to live and let live.’
    • ‘He wants a modernist, liberal Pakistan in which there is religious tolerance and respect for the law.’
    • ‘I want a world where the cardinal virtue is tolerance of all behaviour, and where those who sin against this are demonised and expelled from polite society.’
    • ‘The Christian Right are critical of secular humanism and liberal tolerance in religious matters.’
    • ‘We are fortunate to experience good religious tolerance in our town, but sadly, your report is more likely to hinder than assist our efforts.’
    • ‘What are Europe's limits of tolerance and willingness to accommodate diversity?’
    • ‘Both were advocates of religious tolerance and antagonists of untouchability.’
    • ‘He is likely to have little tolerance for those who disagree with his plans and desires.’
    • ‘Seemingly there is a long path ahead to ensure peace when sport is used as a weapon by those who care not a whit for political harmony or religious tolerance.’
    • ‘But there is a third position, beyond religious fundamentalism and liberal tolerance.’
    • ‘London's character, its liberality, religious tolerance and diversity, is the very thing that makes it vulnerable.’
    • ‘Both loved freedom, both were deeply moral beings, and both were passionately committed to social and religious tolerance.’
    • ‘This would be the blueprint for all schooling: I'd promote anti-racism and religious tolerance so pupils knew what it was.’
    • ‘Racial and religious tolerance is critical for a peacefully existence.’
    • ‘Little did I understand that by trying to educate my colleagues about the need for religious tolerance, I was encouraging them to suspect me.’
    • ‘One of the central tenets of a liberal agenda is to enshrine the principle of religious tolerance, and religious non-discrimination.’
    • ‘Surveys of public opinion suggest widespread tolerance of legal abortion.’
    • ‘The basic premise of liberality is tolerance, open-mindedness, and diversity.’
    • ‘Good things automatically meet with approval; bad things test our ability to show tolerance.’
    forbearance, toleration, sufferance, liberality, open-mindedness, lack of prejudice, lack of bias, broad-mindedness, liberalism
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  • 2The capacity to endure continued subjection to something such as a drug or environmental conditions without adverse reaction.

    ‘the desert camel shows the greatest tolerance to dehydration’
    [count noun] ‘various species of diatoms display different tolerances to acid’
    • ‘The difference among species may be caused by different tolerances for harsh conditions.’
    • ‘A possible explanation of this difference is that the habitats of these species have different salinities and so the organisms may show markedly different salt tolerances.’
    • ‘The dehydration tolerances of desert tortoises are also exceptional.’
    • ‘Winter rye is usually used as a winter cover crop because of its tolerance to adverse growing environments.’
    • ‘Experiments have shown that several species of coccolithophores have different light tolerances, in terms of the level at which photosynthesis, growth rate and calcification are saturated.’
    • ‘For him, understanding the individualistic environmental tolerances and characteristics of species in nature was a fundamental part of any botanical inquiry.’
    • ‘The article also emphasizes how little is still known about the species make-up of such intricate ecosystems and the relative tolerances of these plants to the seasonally varied environment in which they thrive.’
    • ‘The glasshouse experiment aimed to rank the cultivars according to their dehydration tolerance.’
    • ‘Most patients develop a tolerance for opioid side effects with the exception of constipation.’
    • ‘Great attention has been paid to the salt tolerance of halophytes at different seedling stages.’
    • ‘The study of modern ecology and environmental tolerances of plant communities and plant species enables ecologists and biogeographers to determine how far climate can influence geographical distribution.’
    • ‘Drying rates also affect the desiccation tolerance of somatic embryos and immature zygotic embryos or seeds.’
    • ‘Because the plants were at the base of the major terrestrial radiation, they evolved increasing tolerances to demanding physical conditions and expanded the extent of the vegetated land surface.’
    • ‘Plants for the lowest zone are selected for their tolerance to wet conditions.’
    • ‘Prior exposure to heat-shock temperatures has been shown to increase the tolerance of sensitive tissue to subsequent chilling.’
    • ‘Asparagus has a high tolerance for conditions such as salt and sandy soil, thus making it a vegetable that is grown all over the world.’
    • ‘Different individuals seem to have wildly different tolerances of low temperatures.’
    • ‘Many native species however, exhibit a characteristically wide range of ecological tolerances and their distributions reflect this.’
    • ‘In general, it is thought that tiger beetle larvae have narrower tolerances for physical environmental factors than adults do.’
    • ‘This grain is grown in arid and semiarid regions of the world due to its unusual tolerance to adverse environments.’
    endurance of, acceptance of
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    1. 2.1Diminution in the body's response to a drug after continued use.
      ‘the body's tolerance to Ecstasy builds up very quickly’
      • ‘Users who have recently left prison are most at risk, as their tolerance to drugs has been lost while inside.’
      • ‘The fact that our body can develop a tolerance to alcohol complicates how we judge alcohol's affect on our bodies.’
      • ‘The decrease in lean body mass associated with aging results in decreased tolerance to alcohol.’
      • ‘But many studies report that regular consumers of caffeine develop a tolerance to it.’
      • ‘Doctors put me on meds but as soon as they start to work I have to switch again because I've built up a tolerance to them.’
      • ‘Initially, a drug abuser is prescribed slowly increasing amounts of methadone to increase tolerance to the drug.’
      • ‘New users may include women genetically or otherwise predisposed to venous thrombosis, whereas long term users have shown tolerance to the drug.’
      • ‘Regular use over a long time results in an increased tolerance to the drug so that larger doses are needed to achieve the same effect.’
      • ‘He found also that the applicant had a good tolerance to alcohol.’
      • ‘You can't build up a tolerance to any asthma or allergy medications.’
      • ‘After a while, the smoker develops a tolerance to the drug, which leads to an increase in smoking.’
      • ‘Users build up a tremendous tolerance to the drug and it is very expensive, so it can lead to crime if someone gets a serious habit.’
      • ‘Take a five-day break from capsules or liquid every one to two weeks to prevent your body from developing a tolerance to the herb.’
      • ‘The coroner concluded that his tolerance to the drug had probably fluctuated which meant his body could not cope with it.’
      • ‘Some patients who respond well initially develop tolerance to the injections.’
      • ‘The only set-back is that Mrs Lee is developing a tolerance to the medication and she has to keep increasing her doses.’
      • ‘You may have a problem if you have developed a tolerance to drugs or alcohol.’
      • ‘This may be due to increasing tolerance to the drug over time.’
      • ‘People are warned not to use a particular drug as a continued remedy for ill health because a tolerance and allergy can develop.’
      • ‘Subjects tend to develop a higher tolerance to drugs that are self-administered.’
  • 3An allowable amount of variation of a specified quantity, especially in the dimensions of a machine or part.

    ‘250 parts in his cars were made to tolerances of one thousandth of an inch’
    • ‘Those selecting the material should note that stock sizes and tolerances vary among the different plastics.’
    • ‘However, provided these fittings are machined to fine tolerances and shaped appropriately, a high-pressure seal can be maintained.’
    • ‘Manufacturing tolerances (being subject to the whim of the manufacturer, the machinist, wear and tear on the revolver and maybe even the tide) have a tendency to vary quite a bit.’
    • ‘Being the perfectionist that he is, everything is machined to the tightest tolerances and his finishing work is impeccable.’
    • ‘I would inspect each individual unit to ensure it was within the allowable dimensional tolerances, using a tape measure, and the surface finish by visual inspection.’
    • ‘Extremely tight tolerances and uniform distribution means using less material than with other fillers.’
    • ‘All manufacturing tools and processes must constantly be improved and reinvented to address shrinking dimensions and tighter tolerances.’
    • ‘I understand that you are endeavouring to construct your moulds to achieve tighter tolerances.’
    • ‘To maximize performance without excessively tight tolerances on dimensions, design a carefully optimized number of mechanical adjustments into the instrument.’
    • ‘Designed for earthmoving with tight tolerances, it can provide accuracy within 6 mm.’
    • ‘This is what worries me about reels that are machined with fine tolerances.’
    • ‘The machines can operate with tight tolerances at speeds of 500 parts per minute.’
    • ‘Harder than wrought iron, but with less carbon than true steel, mild steel was made in industrial-sized batches, and although it was easier to machine with close tolerances, it was harder for blacksmiths to forge and weld.’
    • ‘Machining tolerances are held to a minimum throughout each step of production.’
    • ‘The intermediate arm is finished to a tolerance of 0.008 mm, and the cams controlling the eccentric shaft are machined to tolerances of a few hundredths of a millimeter.’
    • ‘Parts can be machined to extremely close tolerances.’
    • ‘Engineers sometimes must face the challenges of designing plastic parts that require machining because of their low quantities, close tolerances, or unusual shapes.’
    • ‘Different manufacturers also used different tolerances, meaning parts often did not fit together when assembled in the field.’
    • ‘In modern engines, which are produced to much finer tolerances, the amount of metal worn off is minimal.’
    • ‘Machining this tough hardened steel is more time-consuming and difficult, but it allows parts to be machined to very tight tolerances.’
    deviation, fluctuation, variation, allowance, play, clearance, leeway
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Late Middle English (denoting the action of bearing hardship, or the ability to bear pain and hardship): via Old French from Latin tolerantia, from tolerare (see tolerate).