I am looking for a word—specifically, a single word verb—that means “to intentionally overlook, excuse, condone, or ignore some offense, but only temporarily, in order to serve a larger purpose.”

For example, someone examining a suspect of a criminal offense might temporarily cease a line of questioning and give them the benefit of the doubt so as to ask them about something else, but they are not pardoning the suspect, simply putting the matter aside for the moment. The connotation I’m looking for is mostly neutral, but it could also have some negative undertones.

Here are some example sentences that could use such a word:

  1. “Given the urgency of the situation, the committee voted to ____ the violation of procedure.”

  2. “Seeing as the argument was going nowhere, Ms. Smith agreed to ____ the man’s point and see what else he had to say.”

  3. “It can be politically dangerous to so much as ____ opponents’ points of view on strongly partisan, hot button issues.”

Also, here are some words I have considered for this purpose but ultimately rejected:

  • absolve, commute, condone, excuse, exempt, overlook, pardon, remit, reprieve — All of these are too permanent and do not imply the conditional, temporary nature I’m looking for.

  • parole — This is a bit closer in connotative meaning to what I’m looking for, but its denotative meaning is too specific, and it still implies the offense will be permanently excused if no further offense is committed, which isn’t right.

  • waive — This seems to have less inherent finality to it than some of the words above, so it’s closer to what I’m looking for, but on its own it still doesn’t have the right meaning.

I am ideally looking for a word with a formal, legal flavor to it, not something slang, but I’d also like to avoid something totally esoteric if possible. The word doesn’t need to be commonplace to English speakers, but ideally it should be at least recognizable.

Does such a word exist? Or will I have to use something slightly wordier?

  • 1
    how about postpone?
    – Xanne
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 4:44
  • 3
    Table? Shelve? I really don't see what's wrong with the phrase temporarily overlook either. Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 4:52
  • 1
    @JasonBassford or just "overlook", even without "temporarily" added. I'd also suggest "park" or "turn a blind eye" but it is slightly informal and doesn't seem to meet OP's criterion of "formal, legal flavor" Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 7:14
  • Could you explain why 'waive' doesn't work.
    – S Conroy
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 13:37
  • table is great for #1, though the web indicates it might mean almost the opposite in UK English.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


There's pretermit:


  1. Omit to do or mention.
    ‘some points of conduct we advisedly pretermit’
  2. Abandon (a custom or continuous action) for a time.
    ‘the pleasant musical evenings were now entirely pretermitted’

Found as a synonym of 'bypass' on https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/bypassing.

If that is too esoteric, there is also defer:

put off (an action or event) to a later time; postpone.

In a legal context, it is:

(of a judge) postpone (a sentence) so that the circumstances or conduct of the defendant can be further assessed.
"the judge deferred sentence until 5 April for background reports"

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