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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tolerably
Historical Examples
  • For example, one could purchase a "tolerably good slave" for 100 beans.

    Cocoa and Chocolate Arthur W. Knapp
  • I was tolerably successful with the diggers working at their claims.

    A Boy's Voyage Round the World The Son of Samuel Smiles
  • Yet hazy as his opinions in many respects were, it is easy to trace through his whole career a tolerably consistent principle.

    What Gunpowder Plot Was Samuel Rawson Gardiner
  • He forced himself to say, in a tolerably calm voice, "I will send an answer."

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • Trained as an espalier, with protection of straw or mats, it will do tolerably well throughout the Middle states.

    Soil Culture J. H. Walden
  • They were all strong, hard-working men, and tolerably steady.

    The Toilers of the Field Richard Jefferies
  • You are a tolerably sharp little piece of goods, Leo, and have discovered what your numskulls of sisters never could.

    Leonore Stubbs L. B. Walford
  • Still, it is tolerably clean, and in summer the want of carpets is not missed.

    The Huguenots in France Samuel Smiles.
  • Witham, impatient as he was, stopped and laughed, for the hotel-keepers daughter was tolerably well-favoured and a friend of his.

    The Impostor Harold Bindloss
  • This makes it tolerably certain that I did not sleep for more than an hour and a half.

    Lalage's Lovers George A. Birmingham
British Dictionary definitions for tolerably


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 tolerably



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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