For instance - I do not want to take anyone's side in a debate and when asked about my point of view, I end up giving a smart answer which does not offend anyone of them.
What is the word for that kind of answer?

  • 4
    Do you want this to be a positive or negative term? I.e., the answer to your question might be either, "a politically correct answer" or "a wishy-washy, namby-pamby, non-answer"
    – Jim
    Jun 21 '15 at 18:57
  • 2
    Seeking not to offend is good. Seeking to be honest is good. Balancing these good intentions is not always easy but will only be more difficult if you are trying to impress (whom?) by being "smart". A "noncommital" answer that is characterized by tolerance is a safe choice. Jun 21 '15 at 23:51
  • Don't forget you're also placating people. Jun 22 '15 at 11:53

I would call it diplomatic

Diplomatic: Of or concerning diplomacy:

Diplomacy: The art of dealing with people in a sensitive and tactful way

(Definitions from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/ and not the only definitions of those words)

  • That's what I was preparing to post. Good answer. +1
    – Centaurus
    Jun 21 '15 at 19:00
  • 1
    This answer is a duplicate. Jun 21 '15 at 21:56
  • @Edwin Ashworth At the time of posting a didn't see any other mentioning it. i.e. I think Josh61's only mentioned "a neutral answer". I couldn't swear to that though.
    – Avon
    Jun 21 '15 at 22:00
  • 1
    Take it and run, Avon!
    – user98990
    Jun 21 '15 at 22:03
  • 1
    @Little Eva It was .. so it seems ... I wouldn't know
    – Avon
    Jun 21 '15 at 22:08

A neutral answer is generally given not to take sides with any of the party involved:

  • belonging to neither side in a controversy: on neutral ground.
  • belonging to neither kind; not one thing or the other.

The Free Dictionary

or a diplomatic answer may refer an answer which tries to avoid possible conflicts:

  • Using or marked by tact and sensitivity in dealing with others. (AHD)
  • Dipomatic it is .. Thanks, i was stuck on this word for an hour !
    – Megha Modi
    Jun 21 '15 at 19:10

A answer that is politically correct usually implies it won't offend most people. It does not imply anything abut politics.

  • 1
    Political correctness is itself a political position, which may please or offend the audience. Jun 22 '15 at 11:51

A phrase that has been poured over so all improper implications, offensive ideas, implications of blame, and challenging statements have been removed has been sanitized.


Diplomatic would be a suitable word.

Another appropriate term would be tactful.

careful not to offend or upset other people : having or showing tact



I was thinking of anodyne in the sense of "inoffensive", but it has the implication of being dull.


Diplomatic would fit the bill (as answered above). But I'd say, in a following discussion of your response at the bar among your critics, the word "equivocate" would arise.


the word innocuous means not harmful or offensive

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