Definition of intolerant in US English:



  • 1Not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own.

    ‘he was intolerant of ignorance’
    • ‘Are we becoming increasingly tolerant or intolerant of offenders?’
    • ‘The former Archbishop of Canterbury hit out yesterday at extreme atheists who are intolerant of religious views and attempt to deny Christians a voice in public debate.’
    • ‘Researchers have found that Conservatives typically are dogmatic, intolerant of ambiguity with beliefs rooted in fear and aggression.’
    • ‘So the answer to Matt's question, I think, is that you should seek to understand alternative views up to a point and you should also be intolerant of alternative views up to a point.’
    • ‘The difficulty is that, just as the religious right believes wholeheartedly that it is the one true way, secularists are adamant about their beliefs and intolerant of those who do not share them.’
    • ‘I know you only want to do good, but you'll fail if you continue to be so intolerant of other beliefs.’
    • ‘People with these ideals are so ‘liberal’ that they come full circle to conservatism, completely intolerant of people with differing ideals.’
    • ‘State-sponsored secularism, legally tightening its control, is ever more openly intolerant of rival belief systems.’
    • ‘You seem to be saying that being indifferent to your beliefs is the same as being intolerant of your beliefs.’
    • ‘The play also centres on an iron-fisted leader intolerant of opposing political views.’
    • ‘A bigot, according to one dictionary, is one who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.’
    • ‘You are a bit intolerant of and vicious toward people whose views differ from yours.’
    • ‘Since being approved by voters in 1993, that amendment had drawn national attention, causing some to view Cincinnati as being intolerant of gays.’
    • ‘For a newspaper that is supposedly tolerant of any and all lifestyles, it is surprisingly intolerant of Christians.’
    • ‘You have a significant social consciousness, and you are very intolerant of unfair circumstances and injustices.’
    • ‘If this means anything, it means that the freedom of religion does not include the right to adhere to a religion which is intolerant of the beliefs of others.’
    • ‘Living in a society that was also intolerant of homosexual behavior, they were forced to work out their intimacy needs in unhealthy ways.’
    • ‘It seems ironic to me that those who preach tolerance are so intolerant of those who do not share their liberal views.’
    • ‘But his words and actions have shown him to be a discriminator and intolerant of difference.’
    • ‘It was an Australian view intolerant of mediocrity in any aspect of a test team.’
    bigoted, narrow-minded, small-minded, parochial, provincial, insular, blinkered, illiberal, inflexible, dogmatic, rigid, uncompromising, unforgiving, unsympathetic
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Unable to be given (a medicine or other treatment) or to eat (a food) without adverse effects.
      ‘intolerant of aspirin’
      in combination ‘these patients were lactose-intolerant’
      • ‘He also states that he is lactose intolerant and hence avoids most dairy products.’
      • ‘The evidence for that shows that some ethnic groupings are very intolerant to certain groups of food.’
      • ‘Any parent who is concerned that a child may be allergic or intolerant to any food should get advice from their health visitor or GP.’
      • ‘Some babies are intolerant to lactose, which is found in cow's milk.’
      • ‘Its use is justified in patients who are intolerant to aspirin or who develop a stroke while taking aspirin.’
      • ‘The patient had recently become intolerant to therapy and had discontinued taking the medication.’
      • ‘One study found that 12 percent of patients with IBS were gluten intolerant.’
      • ‘If the doctor administers a drug to which the patient is known to be intolerant, or gives some other wrong treatment, should the inappropriateness of the medical treatment affect the causal enquiry?’
      • ‘In 11 trials baseline pain was moderate to severe, and in five trials patients were only included if they were unresponsive or intolerant to conventional therapies.’
      • ‘It might be considered as an adjunct for occasional patients unresponsive to or intolerant of more standard treatments.’
      • ‘An essential part of the helping the immune system to recover is to accurately identify the foods to which the sufferer has become intolerant, and to avoid these foods for at least six months.’
      • ‘The class devoted to the selection of calcium supplements was designed to assist women who were lactose intolerant or who were otherwise unable to obtain sufficient calcium from their diets.’
      • ‘Those found to be intolerant could be prescribed alternatives to avoid the side effects.’
      • ‘The symptoms became quite distressing and, after a negative colonoscopy, a simple test revealed that I was lactose intolerant.’
      • ‘She said the recent blood group diet had no scientific basis and had many people believing their blood group dictated what foods they were intolerant to.’
      • ‘Radiotherapy should be considered in patients with macroadenomas who are resistant to or intolerant of medical therapy and in whom surgery has failed.’
      • ‘Some children are also intolerant to medicines such as antibiotics and iron preparations.’
      • ‘They are often considered alternatives when patients are allergic or intolerant to first line drugs or if the patient does not respond to first line agents.’
      • ‘Just as you can't feed different animal groups the same types of foods, there are also groups of people who are intolerant to certain food groups.’
      • ‘The only reliable way to find out whether you are intolerant to a food is by excluding it from your diet for four to six weeks, then reintroducing it.’
      allergic, sensitive, hypersensitive, oversensitive
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a plant or animal) unable to survive exposure to (physical influence).
      • ‘Thus, intolerant species had greater growth potential than tolerant species in low light, but low light prevents the full expression of these differences.’
      • ‘For my second wish, the development of a shade intolerant tree species that sheds its limbs readily to create knot free mature wood.’
      • ‘This is supported by the observations that intolerant plants elongated rapidly under water.’
      • ‘In the absence of brook trout, up to one of two nonnative trouts (wild brown or rainbow) would be substituted as an intolerant species.’
      • ‘Other studies have addressed the role of gaps, and especially large gaps in providing the habitat necessary for the regeneration of shade intolerant species.’
      • ‘Previous models assumed that tolerant larvae could not fight and would always be found and hence killed by any intolerant larvae if present.’
      • ‘After only a few hours anoxia, death of previously growing tissues occurs in intolerant species; a shortage of ATP presumably being a major contributing factor.’
      • ‘With the exception of African lions, female felids are intolerant of other conspecifics of the same gender.’
      • ‘Similar results have been obtained for the anoxia-tolerant and intolerant cereals rice and wheat, respectively.’
      • ‘Our main aim was to examine if inherently different rates of fermentation during anaerobiosis characterize submergence-tolerant and intolerant rice plants.’
      • ‘When brook trout are absent, a maximum of one non-native salmonid is counted positively as an intolerant species.’
      • ‘Crawford suggested that anaerobic-tolerant species exhibit a smaller Pasteur effect than do intolerant species.’
      • ‘This grassland-dependent species is fairly intolerant of cultivation and tends to avoid areas that contain extensive woody vegetation or that occur near roads.’
      • ‘Lichens are intolerant to the presence of sulfur dioxide in acid rain and different species of lichen have different threshold levels before death occurs.’
      • ‘In contrast, we quantified the activity of PDC in root tissues from a much larger number of tolerant and intolerant rice lines with a shared parentage.’
      • ‘Gaps in this wetland function similarly to those studied in a variety of upland forest types, by serving as sites of regeneration for intolerant species.’
      • ‘On high sites that rarely flood, species moderately tolerant to intolerant of saturated conditions should be emphasized.’
      • ‘Previous theoretical and empirical work has suggested that females from species with intolerant larvae should reduce their relative investment in reproduction.’


Mid 18th century: from Latin intolerant-, from in- ‘not’ + tolerant- ‘enduring’ (see tolerant).