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Can I answer the question 'How are you?' with 'I am content and happy. Thanks'. What is the use of the word 'content'.

On the book 'You Can Win', Shiv Khera tells a story about a person like "He was happy because he was content, he was content because he was happy".

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Happy and content are synonyms (see this definition, and look at the synonyms; click on content as well), but not exclusive synonyms. You can be happy without being content, and you can be content without being happy.

I lost my inveestment, which I was not happy about, but I was content that the con artist went to jail.

This demonstrates how the two adjectives differ. You can be happy without being content, too.

I'm happy that I was promoted, but I won't be content till they make me Vice President.

So in that sense they are different. Still, the title of the book you mention seems to be interested in them only insofar as they are synonyms, to reinforce the paradoxical and tautological nature of the expression. It seems to be saying "Be content with what happiness you have, and be happy with what contentment you have." Circular reasoning, used as a rhetorical device.

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Great... Let me know is there any mistake if I reply with 'I am happy and content' –  Rauf Jul 15 '11 at 13:03
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Being content is closer to being satisfied with how things are going, than to being happy. As you correctly pointed out those two are quite separate. –  Philoto Jul 15 '11 at 13:05
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@Muhammad: You can definitely emphasize that you are both happy and content. –  Robusto Jul 15 '11 at 13:09
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Happy and content seems a way to put emphasis on the fact somebody is happy, or more than happy. The expression has an equivalent in other languages, such as felice e contento in Italian. We sometimes say felice e contento come una pasqua (literally "happy and content like a Easter"). –  kiamlaluno Jul 15 '11 at 13:36

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