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See also: Thole



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English tholen, tholien, from Old English þolian (to thole, endure, suffer, undergo), from Proto-Germanic *þuljaną (to suffer), from Proto-Indo-European *telh₂- (to bear, support, suffer). Cognate with Middle Low German dōlen (to endure), Middle High German doln (to bear, suffer, allow), Danish tåle (to tolerate), Norwegian Bokmål tåle (to tolerate), Norwegian Nynorsk tola (to tolerate), Swedish tåla (to tolerate), Latin tollō (to cancel, lift off, remove), Latin tolerō (to bear, endure). Related to English thild.


thole (third-person singular simple present tholes, present participle tholing, simple past and past participle tholed)

  1. (intransitive, dated) To suffer.
    • 14th c, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Frere's Tale, The Canterbury Tales, 1840, Alexander Chalmers, Samuel Johnson (editors), The Works of the English Poets from Chaucer to Cowper, Volume 1, page 56,
      "Heit scot, heit, brok, what, spare ye for the stones? / The fend (quod he) you fecche, body and bones, / As ferforthly as ever ye were foled, / So mochel wo, as I have with you tholed. / The devil have al, bothe hors, and cart, and hay.”
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses:
      Seventy beds keeps he there teeming mothers are wont that they lie for to thole and bring forth bairns hale so God’s angel to Mary quoth.
  2. (transitive, now Scotland, Northern Ireland, Northern England) To endure, to tolerate, to put up with.
    • 1932, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song, Polygon 2006 (A Scots Quair), p. 44:
      But then they heard an awful scream that made them leap to their feet, it was as though mother were being torn and torn in the teeth of beasts and couldn't thole it longer []
    • 1955, Robin Jenkins, The Cone-Gatherers, Canongate 2012, p. 107:
      While they were enjoying their meal and placidly tholing the cacophony from the wireless set, they saw the first of the Ardmore workers arrive in the café.


thole (uncountable)

  1. (regional) Patience, endurance; the ability to endure or bear something.
    He got no thole for nonsense.


The Dictionary of the Scots Language

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English, from Old English þol (thole, oar-pin), from Proto-Germanic *þullaz, *þullō (thole, beam), from Proto-Indo-European *tūl-, *twel- (sphere, bush). Cognate with Dutch dol (thole), German Dolle (oar-lock, thole), Danish toll (thole).

Alternative forms[edit]


thole (plural tholes)

  1. A pin in the side of a boat which acts as a fulcrum for the oars.
    • 1847, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie, Part the Second, II. ll. 841-842:
      Swiftly they glided away, like the shade of a cloud on the prairie. / After the sound of their oars on the tholes had died in the distance
    • 1973, Patrick O'Brian, HMS Surprise:
      The oars squeaked against the tholes, the blades dipped with a steady beat, and the sun beat down: the boat crept across the sea.
  2. The pin, or handle, of a scythe snath.







  1. vocative singular of tholus