I often hear people use the word "indeed" in a response to someone sharing an idea and suggesting the fact that they already knew or thought about the idea. Almost as a substitute to "Obviously", but in a more passive way. Therefore suggesting that they are already miles ahead and causing that condescending tone.

Its translation in french on the other hand has a more polite connotation. It suggests an agreement and often the idea that the receiver didn't think about it beforehand.

I'm not a native english speaker and I would like to avoid conflicts and clarify if this word has a condescending meaning in its popular use.

  • 1
    It is definitely not an informal word.
    – Mitch
    Jan 31, 2018 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


The simple answer is "yes", it sounds somewhat ......... British! or maybe pretentious.

I would say, use with care, if you are not a familiar native speaker.

I use it a lot, but I'm able to put it over as:

  • "scientific"
  • "engineering-oriented"
  • "in agreement with" the other speaker .. "You're right, I'll add detail on that"

But if you want to, it's easy to use it as outright

  • supercilious
  • "over-educated" sounding
  • superiority, more-posh-than-you feeling

"I'm not a native english speaker..." Alternatives that capture only the positive side are "Quite right, Steve. Furthermore..." or "Sure! In fact, ..."

So indeed - take care!

  • It does sound british. I can almost hear Sherlock answering this to one of Watson's observations "Elementary/Indeed my dear watson [...]". I, more than often, tend to use alternatives similar to those you suggested. I wanted to see if I was avoiding this word for nothing or if my fears were well-founded. Thanks! Jan 31, 2018 at 21:08
  • Indeed. Your fears were founded well.
    – Fattie
    Jan 31, 2018 at 22:38
  • I'd disagree that it's inherently poncey - but +1 for "use with care". Jan 31, 2018 at 23:23

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