When you practice tolerance, you accept another's ideas and beliefs. If you respect someone's opinions — even if you disagree or find them nonsensical — you display tolerance.

The noun tolerance, which stems from the Latin for "endurance," also refers to an organism's ability to stand or handle a difficult environmental condition. If you build up a tolerance, you can handle large amounts of something (from medicine to psychological abuse) without being too strongly affected. We usually use the word to refer to our need to accept others, as suggested by John F. Kennedy when he said, “Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”

Definitions of tolerance

n willingness to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others

unwillingness to recognize and respect differences in opinions or beliefs
an inclination to tolerate or overlook opposing or shocking opinions or behavior
liberality, liberalness
an inclination to favor progress and individual freedom
disinterest, neutrality
tolerance attributable to a lack of involvement
Type of:
attitude, mental attitude
a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways

n a disposition to allow freedom of choice and behavior

restrictiveness, unpermissiveness
a lack of permissiveness or indulgence and a tendency to confine behavior within certain specified limits
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acceptance, sufferance, toleration
a disposition to tolerate or accept people or situations
indulgence, lenience, leniency
a disposition to yield to the wishes of someone
too much permissiveness
self acceptance
an acceptance of yourself as you are, warts and all
a disposition to be lenient in judging others
Type of:
disposition, temperament
your usual mood

n the power or capacity of an organism to tolerate unfavorable environmental conditions

tolerance for alcohol
Type of:
the power to withstand hardship or stress

n the act of tolerating something

lenience, leniency
lightening a penalty or excusing from a chore by judges or parents or teachers
clemency, mercifulness, mercy
leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice
Type of:
the act of allowing

n a permissible difference; allowing some freedom to move within limits

allowance, leeway, margin
Type of:
disagreement, discrepancy, divergence, variance
a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions

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