not tolerable; unendurable; insufferable: intolerable pain.

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

Synonyms for intolerable

Antonyms for intolerable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intolerably

Historical Examples of intolerably

  • She opened her eyes and moved suddenly, like one intolerably stirred.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • To the west the forest was intolerably bright, as if it was burning.

  • His ribs hurt him intolerably; and his wrist, too, was painful.

    Fort Amity

    Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • Hence came the misery in the knowledge that she must have wounded Michael intolerably.


    E. F. Benson

  • I have kept the Duchess and Elsa an intolerably long while on their journey to Artenberg.

    The King's Mirror

    Anthony Hope

British Dictionary definitions for intolerably



more than can be tolerated or endured; insufferable
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 intolerably



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