Definition of tolerate in English:



  • 1 Allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.

    ‘a regime unwilling to tolerate dissent’
    • ‘We might tolerate or even allow prostitution but we do not encourage or commend it.’
    • ‘Under these conditions, it cannot tolerate anything less than total submission to its reckless and criminal foreign policy agenda.’
    • ‘Those who knew him were aware he would not tolerate dissent like that, but would pick his time.’
    • ‘Liberalism is, therefore, utopian; it tolerates no regime but itself.’
    • ‘No dissent is tolerated and concerned citizens who are vocal are considered special interest groups.’
    • ‘We are operating under de facto one-party rule within which no dissent is tolerated.’
    • ‘What company could tolerate an employee violating a basic rule of employment and of security?’
    • ‘So how can a community tolerate a custom or practice which itself is criminal?’
    • ‘He said this would not be allowed in a court of law and should not be tolerated at the oral hearing.’
    • ‘We need a mirror philosophy, if you will, one that reflects a state-endorsed ideology, tolerates no criticism, deals brutally with those who disagree and advances its cause with self-righteous violence.’
    • ‘The ancient Romans tolerated all religions so long as everyone had some religion.’
    • ‘This shocking and disgraceful practice should not be tolerated in any society.’
    • ‘No nation can prosper where corrupt practices are tolerated or in some aspects even encouraged.’
    • ‘The Taliban had their grip firmly on the levers of power in Afghanistan, and tolerated no opposition or dissent.’
    • ‘I promise you, that kind of behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstances.’
    • ‘Dissenting voices cannot be tolerated, because they imply that a conservative future may not last forever.’
    • ‘Nor can Bulgaria afford to have its image besmeared again by being seen to be tolerating such practices.’
    • ‘Other societies have grudgingly tolerated prostitution as a safeguard for the family.’
    • ‘Similarly, in North Korea dissent is not tolerated.’
    • ‘The protest was a rare event in a country where political dissent isn't tolerated.’
    allow, permit, authorize, sanction, condone, indulge, agree to, accede to, approve of
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    1. 1.1Accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance.
      ‘how was it that she could tolerate such noise?’
      • ‘You don't tolerate restrictions of your freedom and mobility, needing to be constantly on the move.’
      • ‘As you are probably aware, Kyle is not someone who tolerates people yelling at him.’
      • ‘My brother, her own son, could hardly tolerate being in her presence.’
      • ‘She tolerates the waiter, who refuses to leave her alone, and becomes defensive when he tells her that a lunch consisting of coffee and cigarettes is not very healthy.’
      • ‘In Italy, for example, children are tolerated in restaurants even when they ought to be tucked up in bed.’
      • ‘Her mother barely tolerated her ex-husband, and he was way down on her list of favorite conversation topics.’
      • ‘Mavericks and fools are often tolerated by parties as long as they're vote winners.’
      • ‘Robinson had been brought up by a mother who tolerated men, while believing herself superior.’
      • ‘Learning requires tolerating people who make mistakes.’
      • ‘But that seems to be slowly changing, with most people tolerating you, if not welcoming you into their establishment.’
      • ‘They know they are working for a company with standards; he doesn't tolerate people who don't perform well.’
      • ‘Thank you to my colleagues who have supported and tolerated me.’
      • ‘It's just that you can't tolerate people who want to control or possess you.’
      • ‘If, like death and taxes, people tolerate you because they are stuck with you, you're a lost cause.’
      • ‘He tolerates her because it is his ambition to beat her at pool.’
      • ‘Like the gallumphing horde of stray dogs which roam the cobbled streets, tourists are tolerated by the locals - up to a point.’
      • ‘He tolerated me and loved me when I was being moody and difficult.’
      • ‘However, even those banished to the outer reaches of the town are not willing to tolerate bad conditions.’
      • ‘It doesn't help that Daisy barely tolerates him.’
      • ‘Many a factory or office worker would not tolerate these conditions, calling on the union rep to take action.’
      consume, take, stomach, digest, eat, receive, be subjected to, withstand subjection to, be treated with
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    2. 1.2Be capable of continued subjection to (a drug, toxin, or environmental condition) without adverse reaction.
      ‘lichens grow in conditions that no other plants tolerate’
      • ‘The number of adverse effects was comparable in the groups, and both drugs were well tolerated.’
      • ‘Like most trees, they prefer full sun but will tolerate light shade.’
      • ‘Patients tolerating the drugs initially are much less likely to develop side effects afterward.’
      • ‘In addition, this medication is well tolerated, with few adverse effects.’
      • ‘Antiviral therapy is not highly effective in transplant patients and poses additional problems for these individuals, who may have difficulty tolerating the potent drugs it involves.’
      • ‘The medication is well tolerated and has a favorable side effect profile.’
      • ‘The drug was well tolerated, particularly in the lower dosage group.’
      • ‘Unfortunately it is poorly tolerated, and doubts have been raised about its effect on growth.’
      • ‘Colchicine given orally or intravenously is an alternative but is poorly tolerated by elderly people.’
      • ‘Thoracic irradiation has been poorly tolerated among HIV-infected patients with lung cancer.’
      • ‘Apart from skin reactions at the vaccine site, intradermal administration of the vaccine was well tolerated.’
      • ‘Although pin oaks grow best in full sun, they will tolerate light shade.’
      • ‘The peace lily is an indoor plant and will not tolerate frosty conditions.’
      • ‘Leafy vegetables tolerate some shade, but fruiting types such as squash need sun.’
      • ‘Horses tolerate these doses well with few cases of diarrhea or stomach irritation.’
      • ‘If the medication is well tolerated, it can be continued as long as it is effective.’
      • ‘He has also been seen by an endocrinologist who confirms that, medically, he can tolerate the drug.’
      • ‘Adverse events seem to be dose related, supporting the practice of starting with a low dose and increasing slowly as the drug is tolerated.’
      • ‘In general the antidepressants are safe and well tolerated medications.’
      • ‘The drug is well tolerated and, in most cases, should be considered the drug of choice.’
      consume, take, stomach, digest, eat, receive, be subjected to, withstand subjection to, be treated with
      View synonyms


Early 16th century (in the sense endure (pain)): from Latin tolerat- endured from the verb tolerare.