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I encountered this phrase in a novel I'm reading, and I think I've heard it before. What does it mean?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

That's as may be means that what the speaker says may be true, but it doesn't change your argument or opinion as it is not strictly relevant, or other facts need to be taken into consideration; I can't find any reference for it online but a phrase with a similar meaning is be that as it may.

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Not sure about trustworthiness, still wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_that%27s_as_may_be_mean – rest_day May 27 '11 at 21:16
@rest_day, I'd agree with their conclusion, but I wouldn't put too much weight on the citation. – Brian Hooper May 27 '11 at 21:23
I'm also of the understanding that it's most common in U.K. English and least used in U.S. English. The example that always springs to my mind is from the Monty Python comedy sketch, "Crunchy Frog": "We use only the finest baby frogs, dew-picked and flow from Iraq, cleansed in the finest quality spring water, lightly killed, and sealed in a succulent Swiss quintuple-smooth treble-milk chocolate envelope, and lovingly frosted with glucose." "That's as may be, but it's still a frog!" – L2G Mar 21 '13 at 22:23

A rough equivalent would be "that may be the situation, but...".

To use it in a context,

You: "I do not have transportation today."

Boss: "That's as may be, I want you in office in 10 minutes."

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An alternative would be:

That may be the case, but...

It usually means that the speaker/writer is acknowledging something, but is about to explain why it may be irrelevant to the matter in hand.

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The phrase implies a big dose of "BUT" at the end, "That may be the case BUT ..... " – mgb May 27 '11 at 20:55

It means that while the speaker agrees with some premise in the conversational context s/he doesn't think that premise excludes the fact/thing/argument s/he is speaking about.

"Hitler was a vegetarian" "That's as may be, but he was still a psychopath."

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