For a positive verb meaning "to do something about," we have "address" or "handle."

For a negative verb meaning leave alone or not do anything about or not give attention to, we have "neglect." Also "disregard" is a more neutral word, but it specifically means to not pay attention to rather than to omit action concerning.

Is there a verb without negative connotation that means "to omit action or activity concerning; to not do anything about"?

Example sentence:

I am going to _____ this project, as I think the people running it are doing just fine on their own.

Edit: Since a couple people in the comments somehow think such a verb is intrinsically impossible—an interesting concept—I'll mention several other words that are similar in many ways and do not have any inherent negative connotation, at least demonstrating that it's not fundamentally impossible to have a word with the meaning I've described above, even if there isn't a well known word that does:

Words/idioms with similar meanings and without negative connotations include: abstain, refrain, leave alone, let be, hold off (on something), tolerate, live with.

  • In order to 'omit action' one, of necessity, makes it impossible for a verb to describe that non-existent action. – Nigel J Dec 16 '17 at 0:13
  • @NigelJ, the word "omit" is a verb. And the word "indescribable" is an adjective. It's extremely odd that you say a description would be necessarily impossible; that's just not true. – Wildcard Dec 16 '17 at 0:46
  • The question rules out any active verb and what is described is not entirely passive because observation is involved. But let us wait and see what verbs are offered . . . . . – Nigel J Dec 16 '17 at 0:52
  • 1
    Yes, you are correct in that an intransitive verb cannot be transformed into a passive - which is the problem. I have up-voted the question in order to attract attention and to see what will become of it. – Nigel J Dec 16 '17 at 1:08
  • 1
    I can only think of words like 'ignore', which I assume you would consider to have negative connotations. To express your meaning I think you have to say something like "I am not going to interfere with this project..." – Kate Bunting Dec 16 '17 at 15:56

Perhaps 'abeyance' is what you need. eg 'The project was put in abeyance' meaning it was suspended or held over without necessarily meaning for any negative reason. You could also say something had its priority reduced, or it was reprioritised, but this is a little negative.

  • Thanks; that's a good non-negative word, but tends to imply that no one is doing anything on the project, rather than specifically that the speaker only is not personally doing anything to it or with it, leaving others to do or not do whatever they may. See my example sentence again. – Wildcard Jan 12 '18 at 3:00
  • 1
    OK, if it just one person not doing anything, what about saying 'Fred has stood aside from the project' or 'Fred has taken a side role'? – David G Jan 12 '18 at 11:34

The positive alternative to the concept of neglecting or ignoring something is to set it free or to release it. It has 'graduated' beyond the need for your involvement. However, release already has a different definition in the jargon of project management, and set free is perhaps overenthusiastic in the corporate space.

Consider cut loose:

cut loose 1 : to free from control or restraint cut us loose from the contract - M-W

Your example sentence would then be:

  • I am going to cut this project loose as I think the people running it are doing just fine on their own.

If you don't mind the verb referring to yourself, you could retire:

  • I am going to retire from this project, as I think the people running it are doing just fine on their own.

retire transitive verb 1c : to withdraw from usual use or service - M-W

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.