Taking an Ethics class, and in a unit of Aristotelean Virtue ethics, we are covering "The Mean."

Is there a word that means roughly, "seeking middle ground for middle ground's sake; compromising to a fault?" Seeking a middle ground or happy medium not because it is optimal or virtuous to do so, but just because it is the midpoint between two extremes of a certain behavior?

Thank you!

  • 4
    Does the word appeasing (or appeasement) fit your use case?
    – Jim Mack
    Jun 22, 2021 at 23:23
  • I think it could. Thank you!
    – Just a guy
    Jun 22, 2021 at 23:27
  • 1
    To be clear 'appeasing' means 'overly conciliatory' and 'compromising to a fault' but does not mean 'seeking a middle ground' -or-being non-extreme -or- doing something out of esthetic balance (that's all I can figure out of your words) instead of optimality or virtue. So can you clarify which of these you are really seeking?
    – Mitch
    Jun 23, 2021 at 0:38
  • 1
    Grovel is the word a critic might use.
    – Xanne
    Jun 23, 2021 at 1:15
  • The answer will require more context. There are different ways people may seek middle ground. Politics is a salient one. In that case, the term centrist seems most fitting. Temperance is a term usually applied to the appetites, in which case it is bound to be understood normatively and hence as a virtue. Still, there are others. Some people are mediocrists by choice, and this refers to their abilities or qualities.
    – Pound Hash
    Jun 26, 2021 at 18:43

5 Answers 5


It is not an exact match, but an accommodationist is pretty close:

A person who seeks compromise with an opposing point of view, typically a political one.

As noted, the word has a political connotation, and is also a term used to describe a judicial interpretation of how government should interact with religion.

... Accommodationists espouse the view that "religious individuals, and/or religious entities may be accommodated by government in regard to such things as free exercise rights, access to government programs and facilities, and religious expression."


Appeasing, while nominally neutral, can carry the connotation you mention, that of conciliation just for the sake of ending discussion.

M/W has:

(1) pacify, conciliate, especially : to make concessions to (someone, such as an aggressor or a critic) often at the sacrifice of principles

  • This is emphasizing making concessions to make another person happy. The question is about the middle ground for the middle ground's sake. Jun 22, 2021 at 23:51

This reminds me of the Confucius approach to the world called the Doctrine of the (Golden) Mean (Zhong Yong). So you could say that someone is a subscriber of the Golden Mean. You could read more about it here: The Golden Mean

  • They couldn't subscribe to that idea if they haven't heard of it and all that it entails.
    – Pound Hash
    Jun 26, 2021 at 18:33

I like temperate as well, but will add centrist to the list. Temperate, to me, implies a character trait, while centrist seems more focused on the center in an active or political sense.


“mewling” is a good word to capture the weak-willed connotation.

  • 1
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