[ lawng-suhf-er-ing, -suhf-ring, long- ]
/ ˈlɔŋˈsʌf ər ɪŋ, -ˈsʌf rɪŋ, ˈlɒŋ- /
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See synonyms for: long-suffering / long-sufferings on Thesaurus.com

enduring injury, trouble, or provocation long and patiently.
long and patient endurance of injury, trouble, or provocation: years of long-suffering and illness.
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Origin of long-suffering

First recorded in 1520–30

OTHER WORDS FROM long-suffering

long-suf·fer·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does long-suffering mean?

Long-suffering is most commonly used as an adjective to describe someone who patiently endures negative situations for long periods of time without complaining.

It’s often used in situations in which someone has endured pain, injury, illness, hardship, tragedy, or difficulty in accomplishing something. It’s also often used to describe a person who has stood by or supported someone during a difficult time.

Sometimes, it’s used in the context of situations that aren’t very serious, such as to describe the faithful and long-suffering fans of a team that always loses. It’s also often used to describe a spouse as patiently enduring the whims or aggravating behaviors of their partner, as in My long-suffering husband merely sighed when I brought home yet another stray cat.

Importantly, though, long-suffering doesn’t simply indicate that someone has endured bad things for a long time—it implies that they have endured such things without complaint.

Long-suffering can also be used as a noun meaning the patient endurance of negative situations without complaint. It can refer to a quality, an ability, or an instance of such endurance.

In religious contexts, long-suffering is discussed as a virtue, especially one involving being patient and slow to get angry. A close synonym is forbearance.

Long-suffering is sometimes spelled as one word, without a hyphen, as longsuffering. It’s perhaps most commonly spelled this way when it’s used as a noun.

Example: My long-suffering family has made so many sacrifices without complaint during this long ordeal.

Where does long-suffering come from?

The first records of the term long-suffering come from the 1520s. The word suffering in long-suffering isn’t necessarily used in the sense of experiencing agonizing physical or emotional pain. It can refer to this, but the suffering experienced isn’t necessarily this intense.

Long-suffering can be used in a range of situations, ranging from patiently tolerating annoyances to enduring long periods of serious illness. Using long-suffering to describe a person is a compliment that often shows a deep level of respect for their ability to withstand hardship.

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What are some other forms related to long-suffering?

  • longsuffering (nonhyphenated spelling, usually used for the noun sense)
  • long-sufferingly (adverb)

What are some synonyms for long-suffering?

What are some words that share a root or word element with long-suffering


What are some words that often get used in discussing long-suffering?


How is long-suffering used in real life?

Long-suffering is somewhat formal, though it can be used in contexts that aren’t very serious.


Try using long-suffering!

Which of the following terms is NOT a synonym of longsuffering?

A. abiding
B. quick-tempered
C. enduring
D. forbearing

How to use long-suffering in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for long-suffering


enduring pain, unhappiness, etc, without complaint
noun Also: long-sufferance
long and patient endurance

Derived forms of long-suffering

long-sufferingly, 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