v. suf·fered, suf·fer·ing, suf·fers
1. To feel pain or distress; sustain injury or harm: suffer from arthritis; made the people suffer for their disloyalty.
a. To have a specified shortcoming or weakness: writing that suffers from poor organization.
b. To sustain a loss, setback, or decline in effectiveness; become worse: When morale drops, the company's performance suffers.
c. To appear at a disadvantage: "He suffers by comparison with his greater contemporary" (Albert C. Baugh).
a. To experience, undergo, or feel (something painful, injurious, or unpleasant): suffer a heart attack; suffer a debilitating illness; suffer pain.
b. To undergo or be subjected to (a negative experience or development): a team that suffered a defeat; a species that suffered a decline in population; a business that suffered huge losses.
a. To put up with; tolerate: She does not suffer fools easily. See Synonyms at endure.
b. To permit; allow: "They were not suffered to aspire to so exalted a position as that of streetcar conductor" (Edmund S. Morgan).
[Middle English suffren, from Old French sufrir, from Vulgar Latin *sufferīre, from Latin sufferre : sub-, sub- + ferre, to carry; see bher-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.