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[tol-er-uh-buh l] /ˈtɒl ər ə bəl/
capable of being tolerated; endurable:
His arrogance is no longer tolerable.
fairly good; not bad.
Informal. in fair health.
Origin of tolerable
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin tolerābilis, equivalent to tolerā(re) to endure + -bilis -ble
Related forms
tolerableness, tolerability, noun
tolerably, adverb
nontolerable, adjective
nontolerableness, noun
nontolerably, adverb
untolerable, adjective
untolerableness, noun
untolerably, adverb
1. bearable, supportable. 2. passable, middling, indifferent, so-so. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tolerable
  • If this were done merely in marketing materials, it might be tolerable.
  • And perhaps it is tolerable to so many because it has become so familiar.
  • Many will say that nothing more than zero radioactive releases is ever tolerable.
  • Improved phone ergonomics make longer calls tolerable.
  • They make all the weird travel experiences tolerable.
  • Rather, there are often small things you can do that will make things more tolerable.
  • But because such mistakes are rare, they are tolerable.
  • So instead of curing cancer, he suggests doctors aim to stabilize the tumor at a tolerable size.
  • But all that might have been tolerable if participants had been observed as they compared the candidates' proposals and positions.
  • But the currency itself may help keep the gap in growth rates tolerable.
British Dictionary definitions for tolerable


able to be tolerated; endurable
(informal) fairly good
Derived Forms
tolerableness, tolerability, noun
tolerably, 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 tolerable

early 15c., "bearable," from Middle French tolerable (14c.), from Latin tolerabilis "that may be endured," from tolerare "to tolerate" (see toleration). Meaning "moderate, middling, not bad" is recorded from 1540s. Related: Tolerably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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