English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I found the phrase 'concessionary tone' in today's New York Times:

Bloomberg Is Criticized on Storm Response as He Tours City Beyond Manhattan

The mayor on Thursday delivered the message that every street had been plowed, but his concessionary tone was met with frustration in the boroughs beyond Manhattan.

What does 'concessionary' mean in this particular context? None of the translations in my English-Japanese dictionaries seem to fit the case. Can somebody give an appropriate interpretation?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Looking at the definition of concessionary, and in the context of the NYTime article, I would pick:

the act or an instance of conceding (as by granting something as a right, accepting something as true, or acknowledging defeat)

the admitting of a point claimed in argument

(Here the point being that they have failed to response adequately to the crisis)

This is in line with this other extract:

At each stop, Mr. Bloomberg admitted that his administration had failed to respond adequately to the storm that struck on Sunday, and everywhere he went, officials heaped more criticism upon him.

Even though he is willing to acknowledge the mistakes made (hence then 'concessionary tone'), the response of the public isn't less but even more criticism.

share|improve this answer
Thanks a lot, Vonc. we have exact Japanese counter part to "willing to acknowlege one's own mistake - "Hi wo mitomeru." – Yoichi Oishi Jan 1 '11 at 3:02
@Yoichi: right: 非を認める - ひをみとめる if I believe this page naniesan.net/Japan/… – VonC Jan 1 '11 at 8:16

Your Answer


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.