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From Anglo-Norman suffraunce, from Late Latin sufferentia.



sufferance (countable and uncountable, plural sufferances)

  1. (archaic) Endurance, especially patiently, of pain or adversity.
    • Edmund Spenser (c.1552–1599)
      but hasty heat tempering with sufferance wise
    • 1826, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, The Last Man, chapter 4:
      I indulged in this meditation for a moment, and then again addressed the mourner, who stood leaning against the bed with that expression of resigned despair, of complete misery, and a patient sufferance of it, which is far more touching than any of the insane ravings or wild gesticulation of untamed sorrow.
  2. Acquiescence or tacit compliance with some circumstance, behavior, or instruction.
    • Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–1599)
      In their beginning they are weak and wan, / But soon, through sufferance, grow to fearful end.
    • Richard Hooker (1554-1600)
      Somewhiles by sufferance, and somewhiles by special leave and favour, they erected to themselves oratories.
    • 1910, Arthur Quiller-Couch, Lady Good-for-Nothing, chapter 20:
      When his talk trespasses beyond sufferance, I chastise him.
  3. (archaic) Suffering; pain, misery.
  4. (obsolete) Loss; damage; injury.
  5. (Britain, historical) A permission granted by the customs authorities for the shipment of goods.

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