sufferance

[ suhf-er-uh ns, suhf-ruh ns ]
/ ˈsʌf ər əns, ˈsʌf rəns /

noun

passive permission resulting from lack of interference; tolerance, especially of something wrong or illegal (usually preceded by on or by).
capacity to endure pain, hardship, etc.; endurance.
Archaic. suffering; misery.
Archaic. patient endurance.

Origin of sufferance

1250–1300; Middle English suffrance < Old French soufrance, < Late Latin sufferentia, equivalent to suffer(re) to suffer + -entia -ence, -ance

Related forms

non·suf·fer·ance, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for on sufferance

sufferance

/ (ˈsʌfərəns, ˈsʌfrəns) /

noun

tolerance arising from failure to prohibit; tacit permission
capacity to endure pain, injury, etc
the state or condition of suffering
archaic patient endurance
on sufferance with reluctance

Word Origin for sufferance

C13: via Old French from Late Latin sufferentia endurance, from Latin sufferre to suffer
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

Idioms and Phrases with on sufferance

on sufferance


Barely tolerated; agreed to but unwillingly. For example, They rarely put a non-academic on the panel, so obviously I was there on sufferance. This expression uses sufferance in the sense of “toleration,” a usage obsolete except in this idiom. [Mid-1500s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.