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Can the word "dislike" be used to disagree with a statement? Sometimes I've seen people write "I dislike that" after someone made a statement, and I don't understand if that means that they agree with the statement but they don't like/hate the fact that the statement is true (i.e. the true meaning of the word), or if it means that they do not agree with the statement. For example: "He looks better on instagram." "I dislike that." I am not a native speaker so I don't know if it's common to say like this, I tried to google it but I couldn't find anything that supported that would be the case.

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  • It's more usual to say "I don't like that". But it's fairly obvious what is meant either way. ("that" could theoretically refer to Instagram rather than the fact just stated, but you have to work that out by context and tone of voice.)
    – Stuart F
    Jul 21, 2021 at 13:37

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Normally, dislike means

to not like; to find someone or something unpleasant, difficult, etc.

and can be used to express that you although you don't like something, you still have to do it or go through it:

  • I dislike the idea of leaving him home alone all evening. (but I have to) (Cambridge)

or that you don't agree with/favour a certain idea, attitude, policy etc. I dislike that is a variant of the collocation I dislike the idea (of doing something):

  • The outlook for those who dislike the idea of purchasing a conventional annuity is good. Times, Sunday Times (2007) (Collins)

I dislike that is definitely a way of saying I disagree. The situations where you would freely choose something you dislike are rare, if any, only constraints will dictate such a choice.

M-W shows a connection between dislike and disapprove (which has disagree as a synonym among others):

dislike [verb]: to regard with dislike : DISAPPROVE

The tendency to answer with I dislike that must be new and not too common, as GNgram finds too few instances of it in comparison with I disagree.

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  • "I dislike that is definitely a way of saying I disagree. The situations where you would freely choose something you dislike are rare, if any, only constraints will dictate such a choice." Is this definite? Do we have specific examples? Jul 12, 2021 at 0:14
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    Italy won the Eurocup over England. I might dislike that but, sigh, I cannot disagree. (Strikes me that this might be the least appropriate group EVER for sports examples.)
    – Roister
    Jul 12, 2021 at 2:44
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    @Royster Your example is very good, it explains what I said: here the result of the match that is already finished and can no longer be changed, constrains you to accept it as a reality and agree with it, though you dislike it.
    – fev
    Jul 12, 2021 at 9:06
  • @GArthurBrown I think I had in mind cases where the possibility of choice is there. Unless you are constrained by some accomplished reality or circumstance, "I dislike that" and "I disagree" are close in meaning. Certainly, one could say that "dislike" has a more subjective, emotional connotation (of not liking something), whereas "disagree" is more cerebral.
    – fev
    Jul 12, 2021 at 9:10
  • @fev Without an example, I have no idea where these would be equivalent. "This policy will lead to widespread poverty." "I dislike that. That's a negative feature of the policy." "I disagree with that. The policy will actually reduce poverty." Jul 12, 2021 at 21:58

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