Definition of tolerance in English:


Line breaks: tol¦er|ance
Pronunciation: /ˈtɒl(ə)r(ə)ns


  • 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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