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Longsuffering vs. Patience — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Urooj Arif — Updated on April 15, 2024
Longsuffering is a form of extreme patience, typically enduring ongoing hardships or provocation without complaint, while patience refers to the ability to wait calmly or endure problems without becoming annoyed or anxious.
Longsuffering vs. Patience — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Longsuffering and Patience


Key Differences

Longsuffering extends patience into the realm of enduring persistent difficulties or provocations over a long period without anger or complaint. In contrast, patience generally involves tolerating delays, problems, or suffering without becoming upset or anxious, and may not necessarily endure for a prolonged period.
Longsuffering is often used in more serious or deep-seated contexts, such as in enduring personal afflictions or continuous mistreatment with a calm demeanor. Patience, however, can apply to everyday situations like waiting in line or dealing with minor frustrations.
The term longsuffering often carries a moral or spiritual connotation, especially within religious texts where it is viewed as a virtue of considerable depth. Patience is also considered a virtue but is more commonly referenced in secular and less profound scenarios.
While longsuffering implies a deeper level of emotional resilience and is often admired as a strength of character, patience is recognized as a necessary skill for coping with life’s day-to-day challenges. Both qualities are valued, but longsuffering is seen as a higher, often more challenging attainment.
In application, longsuffering might be seen in relationships where a person tolerates chronic issues, such as illness or personality conflicts, over many years without harboring resentment. Patience might be exercised in less prolonged scenarios, such as maintaining composure in stressful but temporary situations.

Comparison Chart


Long-term, enduring
Short-term to medium-term


Deep-seated issues, often personal
Everyday challenges


Moral depth, often spiritual
Common virtue, practical application

Emotional Resilience

Extremely high
Moderate to high


Persistent difficulties or mistreatment
Delays, minor frustrations, tolerance

Compare with Definitions


The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset, particularly over long periods.
His longsuffering in the face of constant setbacks was admirable.


A quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint or irritation.
Her patience with the new puppy, even after it chewed her shoes, was remarkable.


Bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.
She showed remarkable longsuffering in dealing with her difficult co-workers.


Showing self-control.
He practiced patience while teaching his young son how to tie his shoes.


Enduring suffering, trials, or annoyance for a long period of time without losing patience.
Her longsuffering through her husband's illness demonstrated her profound strength.


Steadfastness in difficult circumstances, showcasing endurance and fortitude.
They displayed patience throughout the renovation, despite numerous delays.


Persisting steadfastly in the face of provocation without acting on annoyance.
His longsuffering demeanor in handling the unending demands showed great self-control.


The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
Patience is key when fishing in unpredictable waters.


Exhibiting patience over an extended period, especially when faced with ongoing adversity.
The longsuffering nature of her leadership during the crisis earned her team's respect.


Able to endure waiting, delay, or tediousness without becoming agitated.
She waited with patience for the results of her medical tests.


Alternative form of long-suffering


Patience (or forbearance) is the ability to endure difficult circumstances. Patience may involve perseverance in the face of delay; tolerance of provocation without responding in disrespect/anger; or forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties.


Long, patient endurance of insult, abuse or mistreatment; longanimity


The capacity, quality, or fact of being patient
"The task of mastering ancient languages ... takes years of study, and persistence, and patience" (Cullen Murphy).


Chiefly British, Games Solitaire.


The quality of being patient.
Musical perfection requires practice and a lot of patience.


Any of various card games that can be played by one person. Called solitaire in the US and Canada.


The state or quality of being patient; the power of suffering with fortitude; uncomplaining endurance of evils or wrongs, as toil, pain, poverty, insult, oppression, calamity, etc.
Strengthened with all might, . . . unto all patience and long-suffering.
I must have patience to endure the load.
Who hath learned lowlinessFrom his Lord's cradle, patience from his cross.


The act or power of calmly or contentedly waiting for something due or hoped for; forbearance.
Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.


Constancy in labor or application; perseverance.
He learned with patience, and with meekness taught.


Sufferance; permission.
They stay upon your patience.


A kind of dock (Rumex Patientia), less common in America than in Europe; monk's rhubarb.




Good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence


A card game played by one person

Common Curiosities

Can longsuffering be considered a type of patience?

Yes, longsuffering can be seen as a deeper, more enduring form of patience, typically applied in more challenging or prolonged situations.

Why is longsuffering often associated with spiritual contexts?

Longsuffering is frequently mentioned in religious texts as a virtue that reflects deep moral strength and faith, making it significant in spiritual contexts.

Is it possible to have patience without being longsuffering?

Yes, one can exhibit patience in daily, less intense scenarios without necessarily having the deep, enduring quality of longsuffering.

What are practical examples of patience?

Practical examples of patience include waiting calmly in traffic, managing slow service without irritation, or handling minor daily inconveniences.

What role does patience play in professional success?

Patience is crucial in professional settings, as it aids in managing stress, navigating workplace dynamics, and achieving long-term goals.

How can someone develop longsuffering?

Developing longsuffering often involves cultivating a deep level of empathy, understanding, and resilience, possibly supported by spiritual or philosophical beliefs.

Can longsuffering affect mental health?

While longsuffering is admired as a virtue, enduring prolonged stress or adversity without adequate support can potentially impact mental health.

How do patience and longsuffering influence relationships?

Both virtues can significantly impact relationships; patience helps manage everyday interactions smoothly, while longsuffering can sustain relationships through more severe challenges.

What is the difference between longsuffering and patience?

Longsuffering is an extension of patience, characterized by enduring long-term difficulties without complaint, whereas patience refers to tolerating annoyances or delays for a shorter period.

Are there cultural differences in how longsuffering and patience are viewed?

Cultural backgrounds can influence the perception and value placed on longsuffering and patience, affecting how these virtues are taught and practiced.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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