The Meaning of Patient: What It Is and How To Use It

What is the meaning of patient, and how is it different from being a patient? This article explores the difference between these similar words.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

You may have heard the word patience in idioms like “patience is a virtue.” But what is patience? What does it mean to be patient, and what does it mean to be a patient? This article will define the multiple meanings of this word of the day.

Additionally, it will teach you the origin of the word patient and other topics related to the word patient, like translations, synonyms, and antonyms. By the time you finish reading this article, you will be able to use patient as an adjective and a noun confidently. 

What Does Patient Mean?

According to Dictionary, the word patient is both an adjective and a noun. As an adjective, the word patient describes someone who is tolerant and calm. As a noun, a patient is a person who is under medical care. Patient is two syllables (pa-tient), and the pronunciation of patient is ˈpeɪʃənt.

How Can We Use Patient in a Sentence?

There are several examples of patient that you might see in every day life. Sometimes, you will see this word as an adjective, and other times you will see it as a noun. Therefore, it is important to be able to use context clues to determine when a patient is an adjective and when it is a noun. 

As you study these example sentences, see if you can decipher which part of speech the word patient is in each sentence. Then, come up with your own examples of patient!

Example #1: A Patient’s Health Care

The patient in New York was worried that her health care providers would not cover her emergency medical care since she had just started a new job.

Question: Is patient an adjective or a noun in the above sentence?

Answer: Patient is a noun in the above sentence.

Example #2: The Patient Smile

The elementary school tutor taught the boy struggling with math with a patient smile. She vowed not to give up on him like so many tutors before her already had.

Question: Is patient an adjective or a noun in the above sentence?

Answer: Patient is an adjective in the above sentence.

Example #3: Outpatient vs. Inpatient

The eating disorder patient had to decide between inpatient and outpatient medical treatment.

Question: Is patient an adjective or a noun in the above sentence?

Answer: Patient is a noun in the above sentence.

Example #4: The Patient Worker

The patient worker gave great customer service even to those who screamed and yelled at her. 

Question: Is patient an adjective or a noun in the above sentence?

Answer: Patient is an adjective in the above sentence.

Example #5: The Suffering Patients

The long-suffering patients receiving care from the hospital staff were in good spirits.

Question: Is patient an adjective or a noun in the above sentence?

Answer: Patient is a noun in the above sentence.

What Is the Etymology of Patient?

The word patient stems from the Middle English pacient, Latin patient, and Latin patiens, which is the present participle of pati.

What Are Translations of Patient?

It is a nice compliment to describe somebody as patient. If you are traveling in a country where people do not speak English as a first language and want to describe somebody as patient, you can use one of these translations of the word patient from Nice Translator

You might notice that several of these translations of patient look similar to the word patient itself. This often happens when two words in different languages have the same language of origin, like Latin. 

  • Norwegian: tålmodig
  • Marathi: रुग्ण
  • Latvian: pacietīgs
  • Estonian: patsient
  • Finnish: potilas
  • Dutch: geduldig
  • Gujarati: ધૈર્યવાન
  • Catalan: pacient
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 病人
  • Croatian: pacijent
  • Hebrew: סבלני
  • Swedish: patient
  • Turkish: hasta
  • Bengali: রোগী
  • Danish: patient
  • Thai: อดทน
  • Icelandic: Sjúklingur
  • Japanese: 忍耐強い
  • Basque: egonarri handiko
  • Serbian: пацијент
  • Hungarian: beteg
  • Malay: pesakit
  • Filipino: pasyente
  • Urdu: صبر
  • Portuguese (Portugal): paciente
  • Tamil: நோயாளி
  • Portuguese (Brazil): paciente
  • Czech: trpěliví
  • Russian: пациент
  • Spanish: paciente
  • Slovenian: potrpežljiv
  • Hindi: रोगी
  • Italian: paziente
  • Arabic: صبور
  • French: patient
  • German: Geduldig
  • Amharic: ታካሚ
  • Swahili: mgonjwa
  • Romanian: rabdator
  • Polish: pacjent
  • Telugu: రోగి
  • Malayalam: രോഗി
  • Slovak: pacient
  • Kannada: ತಾಳ್ಮೆಯ
  • Bulgarian: търпелив
  • Vietnamese: kiên nhẫn
  • Indonesian: sabar
  • Lithuanian: pacientas
  • Welsh: claf
  • Chinese (PRC): 病人
  • Ukrainian: пацієнт
  • Greek: υπομονετικος
  • Korean: 인내심 있는

What Are Synonyms of Patient?

Power Thesaurus has many word lists for patient, including this list of synonyms!

  • accepting
  • accommodating
  • acquiescent
  • calm
  • case
  • cases
  • charitable
  • clement
  • client
  • compassionate
  • compliant
  • composed
  • considerate
  • consumer
  • convalescent
  • cool
  • determined
  • disease
  • diseased
  • dogged
  • easygoing
  • enduring
  • even-tempered
  • forbearing
  • forgiving
  • gentle
  • humane
  • imperturbable
  • indefatigable
  • indulgent
  • inmate
  • inpatient
  • invalid
  • kind
  • lenient
  • long-suffering
  • longanimous
  • meek
  • merciful
  • mild
  • outpatient
  • passive
  • patience
  • patients
  • persevering
  • persistent
  • pertinacious
  • philosophical
  • quiet
  • resigned
  • resolute
  • self-possessed
  • serene
  • shut-in
  • sick
  • stoic
  • stoical
  • subject
  • submissive
  • sufferer
  • tenacious
  • tender
  • tireless
  • tolerant
  • tranquil
  • uncomplaining
  • understanding
  • unflagging
  • unruffled
  • untiring
  • valetudinarian
  • victim

What Are Antonyms of Patient?

For antonyms of patient, you can also count on Power Thesaurus.

  • aggressive
  • aggro
  • agitated
  • agro
  • aloof
  • animated
  • anxious
  • arrogant
  • as crazy as a bedbug
  • as crazy as hell
  • as hard as nails
  • as mad as a badger
  • as mad as a bag of hammers
  • as mad as a cut snake
  • as mad as a meat axe
  • as proud as lucifer
  • assertive
  • assuming
  • audacious
  • authoritative
  • bigoted
  • blatantly aggressive
  • blatantly provocative
  • bloody-minded
  • boastful
  • boiling mad
  • bold
  • bored
  • bossy
  • braggadocious
  • braggart
  • bullish
  • capricious
  • careless
  • cocky
  • confident
  • crotchety
  • doctor
  • enthusiastic
  • facile
  • frustrated
  • hard as nails
  • harsh
  • hoity-toity
  • hurried
  • impatient
  • impetuous
  • in-your-face
  • intolerant
  • irascible
  • irritable
  • rash
  • restive
  • scared of
  • scared stiff
  • scared to
  • sensitive
  • snappish
  • terrified of
  • violent
  • whimsical
  • whiny
  • wild
  • yielding


Patient is both an adjective and a noun. As a noun, patient refers to someone who is under medical treatment. As an adjective, patient describes a calm, tolerant person.


  1. Patient synonyms – 849 Words and Phrases for Patient | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Patient antonyms – 469 Opposites of Patient | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Patient | Nice Translator 
  4. Patient Definition & Meaning |