Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Patient endurance, especially of pain or distress.
  • n. Suffering; misery.
  • n. Sanction or permission implied or given by failure to prohibit; tacit consent; tolerance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Endurance, especially patiently, of pain or adversity.
  • n. Acquiescence or tacit compliance with some circumstance, behavior, or instruction.
  • n. Suffering; pain, misery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of suffering; the bearing of pain; endurance.
  • n. Pain endured; misery; suffering; distress.
  • n. Loss; damage; injury.
  • n. Submission under difficult or oppressive circumstances; patience; moderation.
  • n. Negative consent by not forbidding or hindering; toleration; permission; allowance; leave.
  • n. A permission granted by the customs authorities for the shipment of goods.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of suffering; the bearing of pain or other evil; endurance; suffering; misery.
  • n. Damage; loss; injury.
  • n. Submission under difficult or oppressive circumstances; patient endurance; patience.
  • n. Consent by not forbidding or hindering; toleration; allowance; permission; leave.
  • n. In customs, a permission granted for the shipment of certain goods.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. patient endurance especially of pain or distress
  • n. a disposition to tolerate or accept people or situations

Etymologies

Middle English suffrance, from Old French sufrance, from Latin sufferentia, from sufferēns, sufferent-, present participle of sufferre, to suffer; see suffer.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman suffraunce, from Late Latin sufferentia. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Sunday's term was tenancy at sufferance, which is defined as:

    Legal Definitions

  • The leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, Is as an inventory to particularise their abundance; Our sufferance is a gain to them.

    ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, NELSON MANDELA TO THE JOINT HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

  • If they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely; but they think we are too dear: the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularise their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them.

    Act I. Scene I. Coriolanus

  • The sufferance, which is the badge of the Jew, has made him, in these days, the ruler of the rulers of the earth.

    The Conduct of Life (1860)

  • What authority surfeits on would relieve us: if they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely; but they think we are too dear: the leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularise their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.

    Coriolanus

  • The inhabitants seem insensible to these impressions, and are apt to imagine the disgust that we avow is little better than affectation; but they ought to have some compassion for strangers, who have not been used to this kind of sufferance; and consider, whether it may not be worth while to take some pains to vindicate themselves from the reproach that, on this account, they bear among their neighbours.

    The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

  • Confederacy, and he would have been supported by earnest and enduring enthusiasm, instead of by that churlish sufferance which is the result of

    Coningsby

  • 'sufferance' is used in its ordinary modern sense. --/the time's abuse:/the miserable condition of things in the present.

    The New Hudson Shakespeare: Julius Cæsar

  • The sufferance which is the badge of the Jew has made him in these days the ruler of the rulers of the earth. "

    Four American Leaders

  • Moreover, anyone who has ever worked on an offshore drilling program knows that the operator, in this case BP, sets the tone, and that all of the contractors working on the project are there at the sufferance of the operator.

    Looking Beyond The BP Commission's Report

Comments

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  • "What authority surfeits on would relieve us: if they
    would yield us but the superfluity, while it were
    wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely;
    but they think we are too dear: the leanness that
    afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an
    inventory to particularise their abundance; our
    sufferance is a gain to them Let us revenge this with
    our pikes, ere we become rakes: for the gods know I
    speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge."
    - William Shakespeare, 'The Tragedy of Coriolanus'.

    July 26, 2009