1784, "free from bigotry or severity in judging others," from French tolérant (16c.), and directly from Latin tolerantem (nominative tolerans), present participle of tolerare "to bear, endure, tolerate" (see toleration). Meaning "able to bear (something) without being affected" is from 1879. Related: Tolerantly.
masc. proper name, from German Bernhard, literally "bold as a bear," from Old High German bero "bear" (see bear (n.)) + harti "hard, bold, strong" (from PIE root *kar- "hard"). Saint Bernard (1091-1153) was the famous Cistercian monk; the breed of Alpine mastiff dogs is said to have been so called from early 18c. (in English by 1839), because the monks of the hospice named for him in the pass of St. Bernard (between Italy and Switzerland) sent them to rescue snowbound travelers.
mid-14c., overberen, "to carry over, transfer, convey," a sense now obsolete (rendering Latin transferre), from over- + bear (v.). Meaning "to bear down by weight of physical force, overpower," is from 1535 (in Coverdale), originally nautical, of an overwhelming wind; figurative sense of "to overcome and repress by power, authority, etc." is from 1560s.