suffer fools gladly

to tolerate those whom one thinks are stupid
—Don’t expect her to be kind to those who disagree with her viewpoint. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

The suffer in this phrase has the same meaning as it has in suffer the little children: “to allow or tolerate.” In Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, he writes that he feels foolish having to defend his status as an apostle and teacher. But he knows that “false apostles” are lying about themselves and the Corinthians are eager to listen to their foolish talk:

I say again, let no one think that I am a fool. But if you do, then at least accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. What I am saying with this boastful confidence I do not say the way the Lord would. Instead it is, as it were, foolishness. Since many are boasting according to human standards, I too will boast. For since you are so wise, you put up with fools gladly [suffer fools gladly]. For you put up with it if someone makes slaves of you, if someone exploits you, if someone takes advantage of you, if someone behaves arrogantly toward you, if someone strikes you in the face. (2 Corinthians 11:16-20)

Today, the phrase is most often used in the negative, to say that someone doesn’t suffer fools.

Comments are closed.
  • All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture in brackets is from the King James Bible.

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed by Craig Thompson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Any reproduction of this content using passages from the NET Bible must follow NET Bible's copyright policy for use of those passages.

    For information on creating translations of Putting Words in Our Mouths, please go here.

  • Visit My Blog: Clearing Customs

    Sing to the Lord, All the Earth

    Sing to the Lord a new song;    sing to the Lord, all the earth.Sing to the Lord, praise his name;    proclaim his salvation day after day.Declare his glory among the nations,    his marvelous deeds among all peoples. (Psalm 96:1-3 NIV) [photo: “Vedere i campi di lavanda,” by Adamo George, used under a Creative Commons license]

    Imposter Syndrome and the Cross-cultural Worker [–at A Life Overseas]

    When I was a young elementary-school student, one of the highlights of my year was going to the store with a teacher-mandated list in hand to buy classroom supplies. Not only was there the possibilities inherent in blank tablets of paper, there was the just-oozing-with-creativity box of brand new Crayola Crayons. Not off-brand crayons, mind […]