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[tol-uh-rey-shuh n] /ˌtɒl əˈreɪ ʃən/
an act or instance of tolerating, especially of what is not actually approved; forbearance:
to show toleration toward the protesters.
permission by law or government of the exercise of religions other than an established religion; noninterference in matters of private faith and worship.
Origin of toleration
First recorded in 1510-20, toleration is from the Latin word tolerātiōn- (stem of tolerātiō). See tolerate, -ion
Related forms
tolerationism, noun
tolerationist, noun
nontoleration, noun
supertoleration, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for toleration
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wanhope waited for a thoughtful moment of censure eventuating in toleration.

  • And can toleration in the active-spirited be ever anything more than approximate?

    The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Plato has not advanced quite so far as this in the path of toleration.

    Laws Plato
  • They babbled of toleration, as if any heresy were to be endured, if only it were believed.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Their aspirations are all on the side of toleration, harmony and peaceful progress.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • We must not strain the toleration of the French authorities too much!

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • There is a point where toleration sinks into sheer baseness and poltroonery.

    The Biglow Papers James Russell Lowell
  • And this, my brethren, may teach us toleration and compassion for the rich.

British Dictionary definitions for toleration


the act or practice of tolerating
freedom to hold religious opinions that differ from the established or prescribed religion of a country
Derived Forms
tolerationism, noun
tolerationist, noun
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 toleration

1510s, "permission granted by authority, license," from Middle French tolération (15c.), from Latin tolerationem (nominative toleratio) "a bearing, supporting, enduring," noun of action from past participle stem of tolerare "to tolerate, literally "to bear" (see extol). Meaning "forbearance, sufferance" is from 1580s. Religious sense is from Act of Toleration, statute granting freedom of religious worship (with conditions) to dissenting Protestants in England, 1689.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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