I know that "fair enough" is similar to (but not the same as) OK, used to politely concede or partially agree with a point or to indicate that you understand where they're coming from. But then we have the following:

"I'm terribly sorry, yada yada yada so the system is currently down and and we have to enter everything manually." "Fair enough"

I would use "fair enough" here meaning "yea, that sucks, I understand why this is going to take longer than usual, I'm cool with it", but it just occurred to me that it could be understood as "I'm not sure if that's quite right but that's alright" as if I were questioning them. Is the former indeed a valid use of the phrase, or would it be more likely to be interpreted as the latter? Is it impolite to use it in a such way?

For a bit of extra context, I'm referring to Australian English specifically.


Macmillan defines two flavors of the phrase fair enough:

1 used for saying that you understand and accept what someone says:

'She said she didn't want to work for anyone else.' 'OK, fair enough.'

2 used for saying that something seems reasonable but you do not agree with it completely

If you want to waste your time, fair enough, but don't waste mine too.

From the context, it's fairly clear that your initial interpretation agrees with sense #1 in the definition. But, given the dual meaning, your concern is understandable.

Personally, I would take the statement in the sense of, "Yeah, not a problem," and wouldn't take offense at all.

  • Picking the right tone of voice can help.
    – user867
    Sep 12 '13 at 2:07

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