mid-13c., "allow to occur or continue, permit, tolerate, fail to prevent or suppress," also "to be made to undergo, endure, be subjected to" (pain, death, punishment, judgment, grief), from Anglo-French suffrir, Old French sofrir "bear, endure, resist; permit, tolerate, allow" (Modern French souffrir), from Vulgar Latin *sufferire, variant of Latin sufferre "to bear, undergo, endure, carry or put under," from sub "up, under" (see sub-) + ferre "to carry, bear," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children."
Replaced Old English þolian, þrowian. Meaning "submit meekly to" is from early 14c. Meaning "undergo, be subject to, be affected by, experience; be acted on by an agent" is from late 14c. Related: Suffered; sufferer; suffering. Suffering ______! as an exclamation is attested from 1859.
For ye suffre foles gladly because that ye youreselves are wyse. [II Corinthians vi in Tyndale, 1526]
"cause to endure or to continue indefinitely, preserve from extinction or oblivion," 1520s, a back-formation from perpetuation or else from Latin perpetuatus, past participle of perpetuare "to make perpetual," from perpetuus "continuous, universal" (see perpetual). Related: Perpetuated; Perpetuating.
Middle English pinen "cause to starve" (c. 1300), from Old English pinian "to torture, torment, afflict, cause to suffer," from *pīn (n.) "pain, torture, punishment," from a general Germanic word (compare Middle Dutch pinen, Old High German pinon, German Pein, Old Norse pina), all possibly ultimately from Latin poena "punishment, penalty" (see penal). If so, the Latin word probably came into Germanic with Christianity.
The intransitive sense of "to languish, waste away, be consumed with grief or longing," the main modern meaning, is recorded from early 14c., via the Middle English intransitive senses of "endure penance, torment oneself; endure pain, suffer." Related: Pined; pining.
mid-15c., "duration, continuance" (a sense now obsolete; probably an abbreviated form of endurance); sense of "imprisonment, restraint of the person, involuntary confinement" is from 1510s, from Old French durance "duration," from durer "to endure," from Latin durare "to harden," from durus "hard," from PIE *dru-ro-, suffixed variant form of root *deru- "be firm, solid, steadfast."