I believe I have a word on the tip of my tongue. The closest word I can think of is sacrifice, but does not fit into the context. A situation I am trying to describe is when I allocate five minutes at the start of a one hour meeting purely as waiting for people to show up, take coats off, and the usual mess about that happens at the start. The five minutes is important, but its purpose is to be lost for the greater good of having full attention at the start of the meeting. What would I call this time period?

  • I'm not sure if this makes sense. If the purpose of the 5 minutes is to wait for people to show up, then how could its purpose be lost? Won't it have fulfilled it's designated purpose? If that's not it's purpose, then what was it that was lost? Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 21:55
  • I call it paying my dues. Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 22:08
  • 1
    Whenever I'm working on something that I have to take apart to fix I always manage to do this with one of the parts.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 22:11
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    Pleasantries, ritual, standard formalities.
    – Xanne
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 22:18

2 Answers 2


When chairing a meeting I sometimes refer to as the housekeeping. But the word will not fit all occasions - context matters.


"Margin might be close enough.

Out of the whole hour I allocate a five minute margin for getting ready to start.

  • (OALD, 4) ​[usually singular] an extra amount of something such as time, space, money, etc. that you include in order to make sure that something is successful

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