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In the Cambridge dictionary, the word jilted is defined as "having suffered someone ending a romantic relationship with you suddenly and unkindly"

What is the meaning of "having suffered someone ending a ..."? Is this grammatically correct, or is the word from is missing after the word suffered? Or am I misunderstanding something? Even after looking up and spending time for the word suffer, I could not make out the meaning of the definition as is.

Thank you very much.

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    One can suffer an event, e.g., "He suffered a broken leg." The broken leg is the direct object. If it helps you understand it, you can add "from" in your thoughts. Yes, the use of from is common in that context, but not required. Oct 22, 2023 at 21:36
  • DrMoishe Pippik, thank you very much for your explanation. After reading it, the meaning became clearer to me. Because the dictionaries that I looked up for the 'suffer' explains it to have situation or something as the direct object as in the Oxford Learner's dictionary([transitive] suffer something - to experience something unpleasant, such as injury, defeat or loss), having a person after the word 'suffer' as the direct object confused me greatly. Maybe, the 'someone' after 'suffer' can be interpreted as a situation in this case. Please pardon my poor English. Thank you. Oct 22, 2023 at 22:18
  • Suffer can mean allow "Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." — Matthew 19:14 (KJV). For a fuller discussion see compassion.com/poverty/suffer-the-little-children.htm But this has fallen out of use in modern English. Oct 22, 2023 at 23:41
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    @PeterJennings, Still active: "He doesn't suffer fools lightly." And they'd be insufferable fools, too. Oct 22, 2023 at 23:58
  • DrMoishe Pippik, Peter Jennings, thank you very much for the comment. I noticed that the Merriam Webster dictionary and the Free Dictionary both have as a transitive verb the meaning of 'allow' and 'put up with' for this 'suffer' word. So, in this case, then what would be the correct meaning of 'suffer' in 'having suffered someone ending...'. Thank you. Oct 23, 2023 at 0:58

2 Answers 2

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The word "suffer" can be used with or without a direct object, that's to say transitively or intransitively.

You seem only familiar with the intransitive structure, which uses a prepositional phrase, often with "from", to indicate the cause of the suffering.

In your sample sentence, the verb is used transitively. Merriam-Webster has this:

suffer transitive verb
1 a : to submit to or be forced to endure
suffer martyrdom

In this case, the meaning is "forced to endure", because if someone rejects you romantically, you have no choice but to endure it.

The direct object of "suffer" is all of: "someone ending a romantic relationship with you suddenly and unkindly".

This is a gerund phrase with "ending" as the head. "Someone" gives the subject of "ending". Without "someone", the subject would be understood to be the person suffering, which is not the case.

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    Thank you, gotube, very much for the detailed explanation. As I mentioned in the above question comment section, the Oxford Learner's dictionary defines this, when used transitively, as ([transitive] suffer something - to experience something unpleasant, such as injury, defeat or loss). The object of 'suffer' is 'something' not 'someone' with all the following examples showing 'something' as object also. So, this was very confusing to me. Oct 24, 2023 at 2:22
  • @user1026669 You're welcome. I'm not clear though if my answer has helped you or confused you. Do you feel you understand now, or is there some part of my answer you'd like me to clarify?
    – gotube
    Oct 24, 2023 at 6:05
  • Both are fine but I think there's a slight difference in meaning. Typically the pain in "suffered from" is a bit weaker than with "suffered": if you "suffer from something" it normally ails you in a mild or moderate way, while just "suffer something" implies significant pain that is hard to endure. You might suffer from a sore toe or a cough but suffer heartbreak (or "suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune").
    – Stuart F
    Oct 24, 2023 at 9:34
  • Thank you, gottube, for the comment. I found that Cambridge dictionary(dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/suffer) explains this word with the definition of 'to experience or show the effects of something bad' and the usage format along with an example sentence: [ + obj + -ing verb ] I had to suffer her father moaning for half an hour on the phone last night! This clearly helps very much. BTW, my native language is Korean, and I noticed you had taught in Korea. Thank you. Oct 25, 2023 at 17:15
  • Thank you, Stuart F, for the explanation. As a non-native speaker, it is difficult to discern the difference between the two. I just have to practice more. Thank you. Oct 25, 2023 at 17:20
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Further clarification from OP in Comments:

Because the dictionaries that I looked up for the 'suffer' explains it to have ... something as the direct object as in the:

Oxford Learner's dictionary: suffer something [transitive] to experience something unpleasant, such as injury, defeat or loss

having a person after the word 'suffer' as the direct object confused me greatly. Maybe, the 'someone' after 'suffer' can be interpreted as a situation in this case.

I noticed that the Merriam Webster dictionary and the Free Dictionary both have as a transitive verb the meaning of 'allow' and 'put up with' for this 'suffer' word. So, in this case, then what would be the correct meaning of 'suffer' in 'having suffered someone ending...

  • From MW: suffer transitive verb 2: undergo; experience

For me, suffer imparts a negative connotation to experience. In the case of: having suffered someone ending a romantic relationship with you suddenly and unkindly.
The noun phrase in italics is the direct object.

Rephrased: A jilted lover is one who has experienced someone ending a romantic relationship suddenly and unkindly.

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  • Thank you, Glaadrial, the detailed comment. Would the ordinary native speaker understand this definition right away without thinking about it at all? This is one of the rare definitions that I have had difficulty in understanding the definition itself. Thank you. Oct 24, 2023 at 2:27
  • Depending on when they encounter a new word in print, many native speakers will have an advantage over new learners because often they’ve experienced many words in different contexts. For example, because suffer carries some inherent negativity for me, it is easier for me to relate the OLD entry that you quoted to the second definition in the MW entry.
    – Glaadrial
    Oct 24, 2023 at 7:26
  • Thank you, Glaadrial, for the comment. As I posted in the above comment., the Cambridge dictionary explains the word 'suffer' better with the usage format and example sentence with the meaning of 'experience' . I wish that I had found this definition. Thank you. Oct 25, 2023 at 17:24

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