1. Bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness: tried to remain patient when the airline announced the flight was delayed.
2. Marked by or exhibiting calm endurance of pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance: responded to the accusations with a patient smile.
3. Tolerant; understanding: an unfailingly patient leader and guide.
4. Persevering; constant: With patient industry, she revived the failing business and made it thrive.
5. Capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; not hasty or impulsive.
6. Capable of bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance: “My uncle Toby was a man patient of injuries” (Laurence Sterne).
1. One who receives medical attention, care, or treatment.
2. Linguistics A noun or noun phrase identifying one that is acted upon or undergoes an action. Also called goal.
3. Obsolete One who suffers.
[Middle English pacient, from Old French, from Latin patiēns, patient-, present participle of patī, to endure; see pē(i)- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.