In the modern world it is very fashionable to be progressive, to have broad views. A natural question arises: what determines, first of all, that a person belongs to a group of progressive people? Probably everyone can make their own list of preferences. But any of the respondents will say that the prerequisite is to be tolerant. Therefore, it is 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 a person’s relationship to a person

Meaning of the word Tolerance

In order to imagine what is tolerance as good as possible, 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 the stranger as the categorical rejection of the stranger.

Moreover, xenophobe in the “alien”, according to its value system, absolutely annoys everything: from appearance to manner of speaking. We will not give here extreme examples of xenophobia, they are well known to everyone, but we turn to football fans. For example, the confrontation of two Spanish giants - “Real” from Madrid and “Barcelona” from the city of the same name. So, fans of Madrid and Barcelona have the most real xenophobes in relation to each other.

If we are interested in the meaning of the word “tolerance”, then here it is just the opposite: a tolerant person is one who accepts a different point of view, a different, alien way of life. Thus, a tolerant person accepts another, even if their life values ​​do not sharply coincide.

True, one should not confuse 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. English tolerance 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 terrible free-thinking. Then it disappeared for some time and “surfaced” in the vocabulary of citizens 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 the Russian language

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 at all that a person accepts or dismisses any behavior. It is important to understand that tolerance does not mean moral anarchy, i.e. it is not "all allowed." This is an important point, as some people do not understand this. Confusing the concepts of "tolerance" and "tolerance."

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

Language and daily life. Tolerance and compassion

Tolerance is part of a politically correct vocabulary. Language is not an abstract formation, it is alive. In obedience to political correctness, we invent new names for well-known phenomena (illness, disability, etc.)

But this is a double-edged device: on the one hand, when people say about a sick person that he is “special,” they seem to allow him to 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 truly accept a person who is different from them. Thus, with such an interaction, a person rejects man in true compassion.

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

We hope that the lexical meaning of the word "tolerance" has been revealed by us in full and on the available examples.