English Dictionary

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English Dictionary

suffer  (ˈsʌfə



  1. to undergo or be subjected to (pain, punishment, etc)
  2. (transitive) to undergo or experience (anything)   ⇒ to suffer a change of management
  3. (intransitive) to be set at a disadvantage   ⇒ this author suffers in translation
  4. to be prepared to endure (pain, death, etc)   ⇒ he suffers for the cause of freedom
  5. (transitive) (archaic) to permit (someone to do something)   ⇒ suffer the little children to come unto me
  6. See suffer from

It is better to avoid using the words suffer and sufferer in relation to chronic illness or disability. They may be considered demeaning and disempowering. Suitable alternative are have, experience, be diagnosed with

Derived Forms

ˈsufferer  noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French soffrir, from Latin sufferre, from sub- + ferre to bear


View thesaurus entry
= be in pain, hurt, ache, be racked, have a bad time, go through a lot (informal), go through the mill (informal), feel wretched
= be affected, have trouble with, be afflicted, be troubled with
= deteriorate, decline, get worse, fall off, be impaired
= tolerate, stand, put up with (informal), support, bear, endure, brook, hack (British) (informal), abide
= be shown to disadvantage, be handicapped, appear in a poor light

Translations for 'suffer'

  • British English: suffer If you suffer pain or an illness, or if you suffer from a pain or illness, you are badly affected by it.She was very ill, and suffering great pain.He was suffering from cancer.ˈsʌfə VERB
  • Arabic: يُعانِي
  • Brazilian Portuguese: sofrer
  • Chinese: 遭受
  • Croatian: patiti
  • Czech: trpět vytrpět
  • Danish: lide
  • Dutch: lijden
  • European Spanish: sufrir
  • Finnish: kärsiä
  • French: souffrir
  • German: leiden
  • Greek: υποφέρω
  • Italian: soffrire
  • Japanese: 被る
  • Korean: 괴로워하다
  • Norwegian: lide
  • Polish: znieść znosić
  • Portuguese: sofrer
  • Romanian: a suferi
  • Russian: страдать
  • Spanish: sufrir
  • Swedish: lida av
  • Thai: ทนทุกข์ทรมาน
  • Turkish: acı çekmek
  • Ukrainian: страждати
  • Vietnamese: chịu đựng

Example Sentences Including 'suffer'

He didn't have time to suffer , to know what a right berk he'd made of himself.
Babson, Marian Death in Fashion
He wasn't deep enough, breathing an air mixture, to suffer oxygen toxicity -- it was the nitrogen.
Thomas, Craig The Last Raven
He had a long list of victims who would suffer at the First Sister's hands once he had a free rein.
Jennifer Fallon TREASON KEEP (2001)


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