Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

suffer - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb suffer pronunciation in American English /ˈsʌfər/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlesuffering
past tensesuffered
past participlesuffered
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to feel pain in your body or your mind
    Don’t worry, the animal won’t suffer any pain.
    When parents argue constantly, it’s the children who suffer most.
    1. a.
      to have a particular illness or physical problem
      suffer from: patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease
      She suffered from depression for most of her adult life.
  2. 2
    [transitive] to experience something very unpleasant or painful
    Some patients suffered severe side-effects from the treatment.
    About one fifth of adults have suffered occasional periods of unemployment.
    Our team suffered another humiliating defeat last night.
    suffer the consequences: If you choose to ignore the rules, you’ll have to suffer the consequences.
    1. a.
      [intransitive] to be badly affected by a very difficult or unpleasant situation
      a prolonged civil war, in which ordinary people have suffered terribly
      suffer from: The region continues to suffer from serious pollution.
  3. 3
    [intransitive] to become worse or less successful
    Ben was constantly away from home on business and, not surprisingly, their relationship suffered.


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog