In the modern world it is very fashionable to be progressive, to have broad views. A logical question arises, and what determines first of all whether a person belongs to a group of progressive people? Probably, everyone can make a list of their preferences. But any of the respondents will say that the obligatory condition is to be tolerant. Therefore, it is so important to understand the meaning of the word "tolerance", as well as the difference between it and such definitions as "compassion" and "tolerance."

Tolerance and xenophobia as two sides of the relationship of man to man

The meaning of the word Tolerance

To maximally well imagine what tolerance is, you need at least a glimpse of its opposite - xenophobia. Despite the etymology of the last word, it is not so much the fear of someone else as the categorical rejection of someone else's.

And xenophobia in "someone else's", according to its value system, irritates everything drastically: from appearance to manner of speaking. We will not give here extreme examples of xenophobia, they are well known to everyone, but let us turn to football fans. For example, the confrontation of two Spanish grandees - "Real" from Madrid and "Barcelona" from the city of the same name. So, the fans of Madrid and Barcelona are the most real xenophobes in relation to each other.

If we are interested in the meaning of the word "tolerance", then it is still the other way round: a tolerant person is one who takes a different point of view, another, another's way of life. Thus, a tolerant person accepts the other, even if their life values ​​do not coincide sharply.

True, do not confuse a politically correct acceptance with acceptance of true (compassion) or approval. For a clear understanding of the difference, we must consider the origin and meaning of the word "tolerance".


Let's start with the now dead Latin language. According to the dictionary, tolerantia is patience or tolerance. With English tolerance - this is tolerance. The term in Russia appeared somewhere in the middle of the 19th century. The use of the word "tolerance" at that time was a sign of an eerie freethinking. Then it disappeared for a while and "surfaced" in the lexicon of citizens already after the collapse of the USSR, i.e. somewhere in the 90s of the 20th century.

I must say that it is unlikely that his appearance is connected with the Latin ancestor. Rather, it is a borrowing from the English language. In General, in the 90th year of the 20th century began a spontaneous process of "flooding" the Russian language angliiskimi.

Tolerance and Tolerance in Russian

The meaning of the word "tolerance" in the Russian language is what was given a little earlier. A tolerant person in Russia is one that allows another model of life to exist. True, this does not mean that a person accepts or descends any behavior. It is important to understand that tolerance does not mean moral anarchy, i.e. it is not "everything is allowed." This is an important point, as some people do not understand this. Confusing the concepts of "tolerance" and "tolerance."

To be tolerant is to just forgive others of their sins and allow them to live as they like even to their detriment, that is, provisionally, to live according to the covenant "hit one cheek - turn the other". As it is already clear, tolerance does not imply this. Moreover, it can be said that this is in some way a formal characteristic of a person. To be tolerant, i.e. allow another person to live the way he wants - this is the prescription of a modern society. To personal values ​​of a person, tolerance as such may not be relevant.

Language and everyday life. Tolerance and compassion

Tolerance is part of a politically correct dictionary. Language is not an abstract formation, it is alive. Obeying political correctness, we come up with new names for well-known phenomena (illness, physical disabilities, etc.).

But this is a double-edged trick: on the one hand, when people talk about a sick person, that he is "special," they kind of let him be in the form in which he is. They are tolerant towards him. On the other hand, sometimes, since the concept under consideration is of a formal nature, people do not really accept a person who is different from them. Thus, with such interaction, a person refuses to be truly compassionate.

In the context of article compassion means true understanding of another subject. In other words, tolerance as a phenomenon of the modern world has a dark side. Tolerance is only a thin film of an illusory understanding of people to cover up their true indifference to each other.

But there is good news: tolerance as a generally accepted norm of a civil society does not allow people to behave as they please. Because it is due to the ubiquity of tolerance that everyone thinks about each, and here it turns out as J.-P. Sartre: "My freedom ends where the freedom of another person begins."

We hope that the lexical meaning of the word "tolerance" was disclosed to us in full and on accessible examples.