I wish to distinguish between items that are preferred and items that are good, but not necessarily preferred. Is there a word to describe the latter?

  • Another possibility (which no one else has suggested) is fallback, which can refer to a plan or option that is acceptable, though not the first choice, and can be adopted if the preferred choice is unavailable or unworkable for some reason.
    – Sven Yargs
    Aug 3, 2015 at 4:57

3 Answers 3


I would go with "acceptable".

good enough to be used for a particular purpose or to be considered satisfactory

So, a sentence might read:

The preferred option is "Solution A" but "Solution B" is acceptable.


Here's a suggestion--suboptimal. From Collins:

suboptimal (sʌbˈɒptɪməl) or suboptimum (sʌbˈɒptɪməm)

adjective not as good as possible, not quite optimal

Crossword puzzle bloggers reviewing puzzles that could be better often say that the puzzle contains suboptimal fill.

  • Ah, Rex Parker... One of his favorite complaints.
    – Catija
    Aug 3, 2015 at 5:04

Perhaps "tolerable."

"I'd prefer X, but Y is tolerable."

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