English Dictionary

Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819

suffer (ˈsʌfə Pronunciation for suffer



  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, go through the mill, 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, support, bear, endure, brook, hack, abide
= be shown to disadvantage, be handicapped, appear in a poor light

Translations for 'suffer'

  • British English: sufferPronunciation for 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: يُعانِيPronunciation for يُعانِي
  • Brazilian Portuguese: sofrerPronunciation for sofrer
  • Chinese: 遭受Pronunciation for 遭受
  • Croatian: patitiPronunciation for patiti
  • Czech: trpětPronunciation for trpět vytrpět
  • Danish: lidePronunciation for lide
  • Dutch: lijdenPronunciation for lijden
  • European Spanish: sufrirPronunciation for sufrir
  • Finnish: kärsiäPronunciation for kärsiä
  • French: souffrirPronunciation for souffrir
  • German: leidenPronunciation for leiden
  • Greek: υποφέρωPronunciation for υποφέρω
  • Italian: soffrirePronunciation for soffrire
  • Japanese: 被るPronunciation for 被る
  • Korean: 괴로워하다Pronunciation for 괴로워하다
  • Norwegian: lidePronunciation for lide
  • Polish: znieśćPronunciation for znieść znosić
  • Portuguese: sofrerPronunciation for sofrer
  • Romanian: a suferi
  • Russian: страдатьPronunciation for страдать
  • Spanish: sufrirPronunciation for sufrir
  • Swedish: lida avPronunciation for lida av
  • Thai: ทนทุกข์ทรมานPronunciation for ทนทุกข์ทรมาน
  • Turkish: acı çekmekPronunciation for acı çekmek
  • Ukrainian: страждати
  • Vietnamese: chịu đựngPronunciation for chịu đựng

Example Sentences Including 'suffer'

But another reason, I fear, is the terror most people seem to suffer at the prospect of wining and dining a chef.
Glasgow Herald (2001)
But some of his scientists make the argument seriously, although others believe the grain harvest would suffer.
New Scientist (2003)
He didn't have time to suffer , to know what a right berk he'd made of himself.
Babson, Marian Death in Fashion
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)
He wasn't deep enough, breathing an air mixture, to suffer oxygen toxicity -- it was the nitrogen.
Thomas, Craig The Last Raven
However, we all must acknowledge that the victims are those who have suffered and continue to suffer the greatest pain.
Irish Times (2002)
In order to protect ourselves from the pain of pity, many of us refuse to empathize with those who suffer.
Dorothy Rowe BEYOND FEAR (2002)
It is also the country most likely to suffer from Zimbabwean instability.
Irish Times (2002)
Then when you're flying - because you are flying rather than falling - you suffer from sensory overload.
Glasgow Herald (2001)


Log in to comment on this word.