Definition of tolerance in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtäl(ə)rəns/


1The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with: the tolerance of corruption an advocate of religious tolerance
More example sentences
  • Both were advocates of religious tolerance and antagonists of untouchability.
  • 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.
acceptance, toleration;
open-mindedness, broad-mindedness, forbearance, liberality, liberalism;
patience, charity, indulgence, understanding
1.1The capacity to endure continued subjection to something, especially a drug, transplant, antigen, or environmental conditions, without adverse reaction: the desert camel shows the greatest tolerance to dehydration species were grouped according to pollution tolerance various species of diatoms display different tolerances to acid
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The difference among species may be caused by different tolerances for harsh conditions.
  • For him, understanding the individualistic environmental tolerances and characteristics of species in nature was a fundamental part of any botanical inquiry.
endurance of, resistance to, resilience to, resistance to, immunity to
1.2Diminution in the body’s response to a drug after continued use.
Example sentences
  • The fact that our body can develop a tolerance to alcohol complicates how we judge alcohol's affect on our bodies.
  • 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.
  • You can't build up a tolerance to any asthma or allergy medications.
2An 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Designed for earthmoving with tight tolerances, it can provide accuracy within 6 mm.
  • 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.


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).

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Syllabification: tol·er·ance

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