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I'm trying to find a word or phrase that is a bit softer than the word "ruminating" or the phrase "mulling over."

A person who is contemplating something, a decision or whatnot, but not in such an fervent way as "rumination" implies.

closed as off-topic by Drew, alwayslearning, choster, Phil Sweet, curiousdannii Jul 14 '17 at 6:15

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    There's wondering, pondering, and being pensive. – Yosef Baskin Jul 5 '17 at 22:37
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    Neither ruminating nor mulling over is particularly "fervent" or hard. – Drew Jul 5 '17 at 22:42
  • Drew is correct. Ruminating and mulling over are both indicative of relaxed reflection rather than fervour. – Anton Jul 5 '17 at 23:37
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    Cogitating, perhaps. – Xanne Jul 6 '17 at 0:11
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    "Chewing one's cud" is a closer match to the original bucolic meaning; the "pensive" sense is strictly metaphorical. – John Lawler Jul 6 '17 at 0:31
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I would suggest "considering" or "contemplating".

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Reflecting doesn't sound softer, but is less studious or ostentatious than ruminating.

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