Based on the dictionary, 忍耐 = endure, bear with, restraint oneself while 忍受 = bear, endure. But when I look at sample sentences, the usage of both words sort of overlap each other. So how do I use each word? Is there any distinguishing usage between the word? Oh BTW, this is just my guess but I sort of did notice a slight difference which is 忍受 seems to mean bear/endure a situation while 忍耐 seems to mean exercise patience/put up with someone or something.

  • I'd prefer 忍受 means suffer. Commented May 21, 2019 at 2:06

3 Answers 3


I answered a similar question here http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/phorum/read.php?3,114539,114551#msg-114551

  • 忍耐- (n) patience; forbearance

  • 忍耐- (v) exercise patience; restrain oneself

  • 忍受- (v) to endure; to bear

Let's try put the terms into sentences

我未預備好,你要忍耐一吓。- I am not ready yet, you have to be patient.

我未預備好,你要忍受一吓。- I am not ready yet, you have to endure it. (Doesn't seem as suitable as be patient in this sentence.)


我無法'忍受'這種痛苦!- I can't 'endure' this kind of pain.; I can't 'bear' this kind of pain. (it seem like 忍受 translate to 'endure' or 'bear' is correct.)

我無法'忍耐'這種痛苦! - I can't 'be patient with' this kind of pain (This sentence doesn't make much sense)

More examples:

忍耐是有限度的。 (Patience has a limit)

忍受痛苦是有限度的 (Enduring pain has a limit)


according to OP's earlier comments "the dictionary" seems to refer to Pleco dictionary. Some users would like to suggest again consulting online dictionaries, like bkrs, iciba, Linguee, esp.noting large number of usage examples showing collocation.The following may provide additional info.

"汉语同义词词典"忍耐/忍受/容忍 [同]动词。表示承受住。




also note above use of result complement 住 after 忍受 (see https://chinese.stackexchange.com/search?q=%E5%BF%8D%E5%8F%97%E4%BD%8F for 忍受 with negative potential complement 忍受不住/了.)


耐:undergoing a long time of uncomfortable condition

受:suffering mistortures

so sometime after "忍耐", you be may be more powerful in the future,stronger,etc.

"忍受" stresses more the bad feeling in process of enduration

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