Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The use of tolerance comes with varying degrees of indifference to something, with often unstated or deliberately understated degrees of disapproval for that thing. For example, "While I'm tolerant of those that eat meat, I don't personally do it."

Enthusiasm, on the other hand, conveys endorsement. "I'm excited that people are eating meat, though I don't personally don't do it."

Ambivalence immediately comes to mind, but that negates any inclination toward the subject, be it positive or negative.

What word indicates "I think that's fine, but it isn't for me", without the sort of negative connotation that tolerance lends, yet lacks implied or enthusiastic endorsement? What word exists between tolerance and enthusiasm for something?

share|improve this question
1  
What about tolerate? –  SrJoven Aug 26 at 17:16
    
@SrJoven 'tolerate' carries the same connotation for me. It implies a sense of disapproval. –  Tim Post Aug 26 at 17:18
    
I'm okay with that. –  SrJoven Aug 26 at 17:19
2  
It's nice that you're having a discussion about my question within earshot, yet excluding me. Would someone kindly tell me what POB means? –  Tim Post Aug 26 at 17:48
2  
May I recommend consulting a thesaurus? –  keshlam Aug 27 at 3:05

9 Answers 9

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Perhaps accepting. American Heritage offers these two definitions (among others) for accept

To regard as proper, usual, or right: Such customs are widely accepted.

To endure resignedly or patiently: accept one's fate.

share|improve this answer
    
To directly insert this into his sentence, I accept that people are eating meat sounds more like the second definition than the first to me. Something like I'm accepting of people who eat meat sounds more like what he's going for (to my ears). –  Tim S. Aug 26 at 20:53
    
@TimS.I think there is a subtle difference between I accept that [but resent] ... and I am accepting that [and am okay with it] ... –  bib Aug 26 at 21:21

If I don't have an objection to something, I'd say:

I'm okay with that.

That's fine.

It's acceptable.

share|improve this answer
2  
Along these lines I would add comfortable. "I'm comfortable with people eating meat." –  user1359 Aug 26 at 21:09

I don't know that it is possible to be fully neutral without dropping your perspective from it. As soon as you introduce yourself, you are automatically assuming a perspective against which a following statement will be compared, so absolute neutrality becomes improbable. Consider the difference between:

  1. Some people like the color blue.
  2. I tolerate that some people like the color blue.
  3. I value that some people like the color blue.

That said, I think you could use acknowledge (or recognize or understand) in this context to express a relatively neutral opinion.

I acknowledge that some people like the color blue.

It expresses that you are not ignorant of the existence of something and at the same time implies no value judgement apart from that you (probably) like a different color.

share|improve this answer

The term agnostic is often used to express such a sentiment. When applied to a non-religious context, it means someone who is uncommitted one way or another on a position.

Regarding whether or not to eat meat, I am agnostic.

Along the same lines is impartial, which means to treat all sides equally.

I am impartial to vegetarians, although I am not one myself.

Heavily related is the term open-minded, which denotes an unbiased willingness to consider new ideas.

I am open-minded toward meat-eaters, but not toward meat packing plants.

share|improve this answer
    
Note that the issue on which the person is undecided has to be the truth/falsity of some proposition. So that example only "works" to the extent the reader understands you to be talking about the issue of whether "one should [or ethically can] eat meat". If the speaker was instead talking about their own eating, it would be either a misuse of 'agnostic' in place of 'undecided' (e.g. "I haven't decided whether to go vegetarian") or a rather unusual way of speaking about something the truth of which they controlled (e.g. "I take no position on whether I'm about to pick a vegetarian entree"). –  Terry N Aug 27 at 2:31
    
@TerryN: That is taking the religious interpretation and reapplying it to the non-religious context, which is not appropriate. For non-religious issues, agnostic can be used to mean neither for nor against. In business contexts, it can be used to mean a product interoperates with competing vendors equally well. –  jxh Aug 27 at 2:37

In order:

  • Prohibiting, disallowing, vetoing
  • Objecting
  • Condemn
  • Dismissive
  • Frown upon
  • Unpreferred
  • Tolerant
  • Unbothered
  • Ambivalent (also see thesaurus for synonyms)
  • Considering
  • Accepting (acceptable is likely the more natural use)
  • Condoning (different flavor: active acceptance but possible disapproval)
  • Preferring
  • Wanting (and synonyms)
  • Agreeing
  • Approving
  • Supportive
  • Adamant, unwavering, determined
  • Enthusiastic
  • Ecstatic

"Out of bounds" adjectives may be inverted.

share|improve this answer

I'd like to point out that that tolerant and tolerating have somewhat opposite connotations. Do you actively have to put up with something, or by nature aren't bothered by it?

I suspect you won't be able to find a perfect word (although I tried in my other answer). Do you know anyone who doesn't drink but doesn't find anything particularly wrong with it? I can replay a few of those conversations in my head from memory, and the tee-totaler never finds a way to describe it. In a minor argument, at some point you need a reason not to do something, and unless you have one that applies to yourself and not to others, this is rough.

But, I don't know, it wouldn't hurt to just admit to interested parties that you do in fact find something objectionable about eating meat. In other words, the problem might be content more than verbiage, given that you have a stance that led to you taking an action and you can't find a word to explain why you're taking the action but not for any particular stance.

It's somewhat a cultural issue also. Since people generally want you to do what they're doing (pretty sure this is cross-cultural), humankind hasn't necessarily evolved a great word for "no judgment but I'm exempting myself." Because no one would accept that, we'd just push and argue against it.

share|improve this answer

The following words come to mind:

Acceptable: just good enough, but not very good

All right: satisfactory or reasonably good

Convenient: suitable for the purposes and needs and causing the least difficulty

share|improve this answer

How about a state of merely being content? It seems as if you're looking for something that implies approval, but rather luke-warm approval.

I'm content for others to eat meat.

share|improve this answer

I think you might look at synomyms for indifferent

  • dispassionate
  • unprejudiced
  • nonpartisan
  • impartial
  • detached
  • equitable
  • neutral

In particular indifferent and the first five alternatives have a prefix indicating the lack of feelings (either way) for whatever noun the adjective is being applied to.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.