• synonyms


[in-tol-er-uh-buh l]
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  1. not tolerable; unendurable; insufferable: intolerable pain.
  2. excessive.

Origin of intolerable

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English word from Latin word intolerābilis. See in-3, tolerable
Related formsin·tol·er·a·bil·i·ty, in·tol·er·a·ble·ness, nounin·tol·er·a·bly, adverbqua·si-in·tol·er·a·ble, adjectivequa·si-in·tol·er·a·bly, adverbsu·per·in·tol·er·a·ble, adjectivesu·per·in·tol·er·a·ble·ness, nounsu·per·in·tol·er·a·bly, adverb
Can be confusedintolerable intolerant


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1. unbearable, insupportable.


1. endurable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for intolerability

Historical Examples

  • He tried to stare back at her with the intolerability of the inhumanly inoculated.

    The Shriek

    Charles Somerville

  • If I were to measure my deserts by people's remembrance of me, I should be a prodigy of intolerability.

British Dictionary definitions for intolerability


  1. more than can be tolerated or endured; insufferable
  2. informal extremely irritating or annoying
Derived Formsintolerability or intolerableness, nounintolerably, 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

Word Origin and History for intolerability


1590s, from Late Latin intolerabilitas, from Latin intolerabilis (see 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