Bearable vs. Tolerable

What's the Difference?

Bearable and tolerable are both adjectives used to describe situations or experiences that are not ideal but can still be managed or endured. However, there is a subtle difference between the two terms. Bearable implies that something is able to be endured or tolerated, while tolerable suggests that something is able to be accepted or put up with. In essence, bearable may imply a higher level of discomfort or difficulty than tolerable. Overall, both words convey a sense of being able to cope with a less than ideal situation.


DefinitionAble to be endured or toleratedAble to be endured or tolerated
Level of discomfortLess discomfort compared to intolerableMore discomfort compared to bearable
SubjectivityMay vary from person to personMay vary from person to person
DurationCan be endured for a longer periodCan be tolerated for a longer period

Further Detail


Bearable and tolerable are two words that are often used interchangeably, but they actually have distinct meanings. Bearable refers to something that can be endured or tolerated, even if it is unpleasant or difficult. Tolerable, on the other hand, refers to something that is able to be endured or accepted without causing extreme discomfort or distress.


One key difference between bearable and tolerable is the level of intensity involved. Bearable typically implies that something is difficult or unpleasant, but still manageable. For example, a bearable amount of pain might be something that is uncomfortable but not unbearable. Tolerable, on the other hand, suggests that something is more easily accepted or endured without causing significant distress.


Another important distinction between bearable and tolerable is the subjective nature of these terms. What one person finds bearable, another person might find intolerable. This is because individual tolerance levels can vary greatly based on personal experiences, beliefs, and values. Tolerable, on the other hand, tends to be more universally understood as something that is generally acceptable or manageable for most people.


The context in which bearable and tolerable are used can also impact their meanings. Bearable is often used in situations where someone is enduring hardship or difficulty, such as a challenging work environment or a painful medical procedure. Tolerable, on the other hand, is frequently used to describe situations that are more easily accepted or tolerated, such as a mildly annoying noise or a slightly uncomfortable temperature.

Emotional Response

When it comes to emotional responses, bearable tends to evoke feelings of resilience and endurance. It implies that someone is able to cope with a difficult situation and push through despite the challenges. Tolerable, on the other hand, suggests a more passive acceptance of a situation without necessarily needing to actively overcome it.


The impact of something being bearable versus tolerable can also differ. Something that is bearable may still have a significant impact on a person's well-being or quality of life, even if they are able to endure it. Tolerable, on the other hand, implies that something is more easily accepted or managed without causing as much disruption or negative consequences.


In conclusion, while bearable and tolerable are often used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings and implications. Bearable typically refers to something that is difficult or unpleasant but still manageable, while tolerable suggests something that is more easily accepted or endured. Understanding the differences between these two terms can help us better communicate our experiences and feelings in various situations.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.