Definition of tolerance in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɒl(ə)r(ə)ns/


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
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  • 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.
forbearance, toleration, sufferance, liberality, open-mindedness, lack of prejudice, lack of bias, broad-mindedness, liberalism;
patience, long-suffering, magnanimity, sympathy, understanding, charity, lenience, leniency, lenity, indulgence, clemency, permissiveness, complaisance, laxness
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
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  • 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, acceptance of;
resistance to, immunity to, non-susceptibility to, resilience to
2.1Diminution in the body’s response to a drug after continued use: the body’s tolerance to Ecstasy builds up very quickly
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  • 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.
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
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  • 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.
deviation, fluctuation, variation, allowance, play, clearance, leeway;
inaccuracy, imprecision, inexactness


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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