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zero tolerance

This page is about the idiom zero tolerance

American English


If something is given zero tolerance, it won't be accepted even once.

For example

  • Because of the school's zero-tolerance policy, our boy was expelled for smoking just one cigarette.

  • How can a society based on Christian morals and forgiveness of sin have a zero-tolerance approach to petty crime?


This idiom is typically used in American English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz

If a zero-tolerance policy on crime is adopted, people are sent to jail after

a. their first offence

b. their first chance

c. their first warning

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey