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[in-tol-er-uh-buh l] /ɪnˈtɒl ər ə bəl/
not tolerable; unendurable; insufferable:
intolerable pain.
Origin of intolerable
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin intolerābilis. See in-3, tolerable
Related forms
intolerability, intolerableness, noun
intolerably, adverb
quasi-intolerable, adjective
quasi-intolerably, adverb
superintolerable, adjective
superintolerableness, noun
superintolerably, adverb
Can be confused
intolerable, intolerant.
1. unbearable, insupportable.
1. endurable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for intolerable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why had that innocent and not unfamiliar phrase become so intolerable when she heard it again this morning?

  • To me he is the most intolerable creature that I ever conversed with.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The evenings were intolerable, and I felt the atmosphere absolutely suffocating at times.

    The Span o' Life William McLennan
  • At this intolerable assertion as he deemed it, Edward Gilder was reanimated.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Cicily realized, with an increase of misery, how intolerable had been her conduct.

    Making People Happy Thompson Buchanan
British Dictionary definitions for intolerable


more than can be tolerated or endured; insufferable
(informal) extremely irritating or annoying
Derived Forms
intolerability, intolerableness, noun
intolerably, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for intolerable

late 14c., from Latin intolerabilis "that cannot bear, that cannot be borne," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + tolerabilis "that may be endured," from tolerare "to tolerate" (see toleration). Related: Intolerably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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