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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.