on sufferance


[suhf-er-uhns, suhf-ruhns]
passive permission resulting from lack of interference; tolerance, especially of something wrong or illegal (usually preceded by on or by ).
capacity to endure pain, hardship, etc.; endurance.
Archaic. suffering; misery.
Archaic. patient endurance.

1250–1300; Middle English suffrance < Old French soufrance, < Late Latin sufferentia, equivalent to suffer(re) to suffer + -entia -ence, -ance

nonsufferance, noun
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World English Dictionary
sufferance (ˈsʌfərəns, ˈsʌfrəns)
1.  tolerance arising from failure to prohibit; tacit permission
2.  capacity to endure pain, injury, etc
3.  the state or condition of suffering
4.  archaic patient endurance
5.  on sufferance with reluctance
[C13: via Old French from Late Latin sufferentia endurance, from Latin sufferre to suffer]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

on sufferance

Barely tolerated; agreed to but unwillingly. For example, They rarely put a non-academic on the panel, so obviously I was there on sufferance. This expression uses sufferance in the sense of "toleration," a usage obsolete except in this idiom. [Mid-1500s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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