[tol-uh-rey-shuh n]


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 formstol·er·a·tion·ism, nountol·er·a·tion·ist, nounnon·tol·er·a·tion, nounsu·per·tol·er·a·tion, noun

Synonyms for toleration

1. See tolerance. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for toleration

Contemporary Examples of toleration

Historical Examples of toleration

  • 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.



  • 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.)

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 Formstolerationism, nountolerationist, 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

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