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There is a problem that has a way to address it.

However, the way to address the problem is not a solution because it doesn't completely solve the problem, and perhaps it is not even a partial solution because it doesn't really solve it. It also introduces complications that may have to be dealt with separately.

The best thing that comes to my mind is "addressing the problem", and it would be great if there was a noun for it.

I would suppose that "mitigation" is an appropriate word, but perhaps there is something more precise?

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marked as duplicate by Mazura, k1eran, Helmar, Chenmunka, Mitch Sep 20 '16 at 13:17

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  • mediate - intervene in a dispute in order to bring about an agreement or reconciliation. – Nagarajan Shanmuganathan Sep 19 '16 at 9:17
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    Address......​​. – Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 19 '16 at 12:40
  • Possibly "response". – Doug Warren Sep 19 '16 at 13:13
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    What exactly do you mean by "address the problem without solving it (even partially)"? Do you just want to acknowledge that the problem exists? What kind of new complications are you imagining? Please describe an example scenario where the term you need would be useful. – talrnu Sep 19 '16 at 13:42
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    Example sentence with a "____" where you want the word to go would help. – k1eran Sep 19 '16 at 14:50

14 Answers 14


A way to address a problem without solving it is a work-around.


work–around noun

: a plan or method to circumvent a problem (as in computer software) without eliminating it

  • This is a common term in the computer industry. If you can't fix a problem, sometimes you can work around it. The noun of that is workaround or work-around. – TecBrat Sep 19 '16 at 21:30

You can manage the problem (noun: problem management) and this may involve (one or more) ways of addressing it including mitigation, (possible) solution(s) & workaround(s) and prevention (of recurrence).


manage verb

: to have control of (something, such as a business, department, sports team, etc.)

: to take care of and make decisions about (someone's time, money, etc.)

He manages his own finances.


Problem Management is the process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all problems. The primary objectives of problem management are to prevent problems and resulting incidents from happening, to eliminate recurring incidents, and to minimize the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented.


In tech circles, "kludge" can be used to describe a band-aid solution.

kludge ‎(plural kludges)

  1. (general) Any construction or practice, typically inelegant, designed to solve a problem temporarily or expediently.


Band-Aid solution

A quick and/or temporary solution to a problem that does not address or resolve the underlying cause of said problem.

The Free Dictionary

As @TechBrat accurately points out in the comments, these are informal phrases, so may not be appropriate in all contexts.

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    I think it is important to point out that these are informal phrases. – TecBrat Sep 19 '16 at 21:32

What you have there, is a Stopgap

a temporary way of dealing with a problem or satisfying a need. "transplants are only a stopgap until more sophisticated alternatives can work"

It's a very apt usage here, because it's 1) one-word 2)that exactly conveys the intention of just temporarily addressing a hole ("stop"-pping a gap, but not closing it).

See also:


As a close approximation of this earlier answer by Simon (Work-around) I'd like to propose circumvention.

Find a way around (an obstacle)
‘We take any circumvention of immigration control very seriously.’

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/circumvent (verb)
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/circumvention (noun)


I'm not sure what kind of problem you're talking about, so I am going to pick up on your mention of the word mitigate. Lacking context, I could be totally off base here.

How about assuage? From The Free Dictionary:


  • to make (something burdensome or painful) less intense or severe

  • to soothe, moderate, or relieve (grief, pain, etc)

  • to make milder or less severe; relieve; ease; mitigate

To attempt to assuage another's problems, concerns, or issues might not constitute a complete solution, may not represent even a partial solution, and could result in complications that need to be dealt with separately. But ... it could have a mitigating effect.

The noun is assuagement, the feeling that comes when something burdensome is removed or reduced.

  • And the down vote is because ...? Just wondering ... – Richard Kayser Sep 19 '16 at 21:37

The word ameliorate may not be perfectly apt, but I think it comes close!

Here (and below) is an exemplar sentence which uses ameliorate, which I will expand upon:

Volunteers were able to ameliorate conditions in the refugee camp.

First, to ameliorate does not necessarily mean the refugee problem itself will be eliminated; rather, it means the severity of the problem will at least improve somewhat. Perhaps easier access to potable water would be one improvement, or better food for another.

Second, amelioration can also lead to unanticipated consequences. In the refugee camp, for example, some of the refugees may have dietary restrictions such that the better food which is meant to ameliorate the hunger problem might exacerbate the situation when it violates a dietary law which is observed by a significant number of refugees.


The noun: a first approximation or the first-approximation solution

This means a rough initial solution that doesn't solve the problem precisely.

The verb: make a first approximation

This term comes from math, more specifically numerical methods, but people who understand math use this all the time for non-math problems and partial solutions. I hope you find it useful too.

I'll explain the concept in math. You have a problem for which an exact (pencil and paper) solution does not exist or is too tedious to search for. So you write a computer program to find an approximate solution. Your algorithm is iterative, meaning you start with a rough approximation and then apply the algorithm repeatedly, to bring your estimated solution closer and closer to the true solution (which you can probably never know with infinite precision). After going through the algorithm (procedure) once, you arrive at the first approximation [solution]. After a second pass, you arrive at the second approximation. Etc.

Before computers, numerical methods could be used but it was tedious. So people had good reason to keep track of exactly how many times they went through the procedure.


In "addressing the problem" we might have an interlocutor participate in helping to assuage the problem.

Interlocutor: (noun) An interlocutor is someone who participates in a discussion or conversation, sometimes as a go-between. [As in]...you and your friend are in an argument...a third friend could act as an interlocutor, delivering messages back and forth. (Vocabulary.com Dictionary)

We cannot be sure that the intercession of an interlocutor will provide a "solution" (as per the OP) but we can say that the problem is being addressed with a solution in mind - "addressing a problem".


There are various terms for a solution that doesn't exactly solve a problem, but they're largely vernacular: bodge, workaround, etc.


There are several words that might work, but each has a slightly different connotation as well as level of formality. It's hard to know which word would be the best without knowing more about the specific connotation you're looking for, or how formal you want to be.

Some possiblities are:

  • Address the problem: your word - implies that the problem is partially or fully solved.
  • Tackle the problem: Implies that someone is actively working on the problem, but does not imply that it has been solved. Not used formally.
  • Study the problem: implies that someone is thinking about the problem, but no one has yet tried to implement a solution.
  • Approach the problem: implies that the outline of the solution has been developed, or perhaps more accurately that a certain perspective has been adopted about how to develop a solution, but a solution has not yet been developed or implemented.

For completeness, some suggestions that others (or you yourself) have come up with:

  • Develop a work-around: implies that a temporary solution has been found, but the root cause of the problem still exists and has not yet been addressed.
  • Circumvent or bypass the problem: similar to developing a work-around, but connotes that the problem no longer needs to be addressed; i.e., the "work-around" solution may be considered permanent.

  • Mitigate: implies that a solution has been found that makes the problem less severe, but does not necessarily fully solve it. However, whenever I hear the word "mitigate", it's usually "mitigate a risk" or "mitigate an issue"; I almost never hear "mitigate a problem".

  • Note that the OP asks specifically for nouns - all of these are verbs. – JPhil Sep 19 '16 at 20:05
  • On the other hand, this does point out the lack of precision in the question. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 19 '16 at 20:20
  • @Jphil: True, but his example is "addressing the problem". This leads me to believe that the OP is fine with using the verbs as gerunds. – Richter65 Sep 20 '16 at 13:01

A "solution" can fix the root cause or mask the symptoms.

root cause: noun
the fundamental reason for the occurrence of a problem.


symptom: noun
any phenomenon or circumstance accompanying something and regarded as evidence of its existence; indication

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    I'd want to slap 'temporary' etc on any 'solution' that didn't really solve the root issue. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 19 '16 at 20:22
  • @EdwinAshworth agreed; the double quotes were meant to convey a little sarcasm with regarding short-term fixes. – k1eran Sep 19 '16 at 20:46
  • But OP is obviously not using the word that way: the usual sense is basic to the question. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 19 '16 at 20:52

From medicine, I'll suggest a palliative -- something which reduces the symptoms but does not directly address the underlying cause.

In engineering, a workaround might qualify.


Discussion of the problem

If "Problem Management" (as suggested by @alwayslearning) doesn't quite fit your context, maybe a "Discussion of the problem" will.

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