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Let's assume two people A and B are in an argument, when A accuses B of some wrongdoing, which B denies. A while after, B, for the sake of pretending to have a moral high ground (for thinking of ending the argument), agrees to the wrongdoing, just for the sake of it, while making it clear in their tone (which has an inflection similar to that of sarcasm), that A is in fact wrong. Is there an another word for such admittance or such a behavior?

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Jul 25 at 23:03

12 Answers 12

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If you say so

a weak or indifferent agreement. If one has an opposing opinion as you, but they’re tired of arguing or raising points, the person can result to saying ‘if you say so’ sarcastically which serves as a weak agreement to stop the ongoing argument. (source)

Yourdictionary and Wikipedia say it is

used to convey lack of agreement together with a refusal to enter into or continue an argument.

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  • My opinion of the grammarhow article is lowered by the fact that its author confused "result" with "resort."
    – DLosc
    Jul 25 at 23:05
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Whatever.

whatever adverb (DISRESPECT) informal

something that is said to show that you do not respect or care about what someone is saying, especially someone who is asking you to agree with them or agree to do something

Whatever you say.

Probably so.

In an answer about the origin of whatever as a sentence, @SvenYargs cites the following among other sources, which puts it neatly in the category of ending the argument without agreeing:

Tom Dalzell, Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang (1996) lists whatever under the category "Exclamations" in the chapter on "The 1970s and 1980s":

Whatever. While I may not agree with what you just said, I do not choose to waste my time arguing with you about it just now.

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  • Be that as it may . . .
    – Xanne
    Jul 23 at 22:07
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    Yes; I suppose it is short for "Whatever you say." Jul 26 at 11:20
10

Placate comes to mind when simply, agreeing for the sake of.

Or

The more derogatory in nature, patronize.

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  • 2
    Please provide corroborative references for your definitions (like the other answers do). This is expected of answers on this site.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jul 24 at 10:08
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    The body of the question, though, described the person being overtly sarcastic about it. Placate doesn’t fit that (although patronize might). If you make a note of that, this is a fine answer.
    – Davislor
    Jul 24 at 18:32
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Agree to disagree

to agree not to argue anymore about a difference of opinion. He likes golf and his wife likes tennis, so when it comes to sports, they have agreed to disagree. (M-W)

B says, "Let's agree to disagree." B has not admitted to any wrongdoing, and cuts off debate.

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  • I do not like this phrasing, and it could be better as "agree that we disagree" so as to stop arguing. To me, two people would agree to disagree and start arguing so they could better expose the issue in a debate so that a third party could understand the range of issues, such as in an adversarial court of law
    – Henry
    Jul 24 at 16:26
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    @Henry Whether you like it or not, that's the idiomatic way to say it. But I don't think this is an answer to the question, which is about claiming to agree.
    – Barmar
    Jul 24 at 19:00
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    @Henry Also, your phrasing doesn't mean the same thing. You don't have to agree that you disagree, since it's patently obvious. What you're agreeing to is to leave the disagreement in place instead of continuing to argue.
    – Barmar
    Jul 24 at 19:01
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    Also, in this case, the example doesn't quite work, because it is a matter of opinion, which is not a "right/wrong" matter. Neither party could reasonably accuse the other of being wrong for preferring one sport over another. They just like what they like. If the disagreement were over something factual and not just subjective, it might apply though. Jul 24 at 19:08
  • I will agree that the example is a matter of taste. Please note that the example comes from the Merriam-Webster entry.
    – rajah9
    Jul 25 at 13:39
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We might call that sardonic or passive-aggressive.

A more formal term that doesn’t connote sarcasm would be acquieescence, which Merriam-Webster defines as:

passive acceptance or submission

We could also say that he accedes or is resigned. Again, neither of those connotes sarcastic agreement.

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  • OP has not yet defined whether they want an expression describing the behavior, or the expression used in the behavior, but given they want the description, sardonic is it. To excel, you could give a usage example - especially because the adverb ('sardonically') does not sound as good.
    – loonquawl
    Jul 25 at 6:43
  • "Accede" was my first thought, as well. See definition #3 on Wiktionary: "To agree or assent to a proposal or a view; to give way."
    – acvill
    Jul 25 at 16:53
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If for the sake of argument, we humor them or you can be playing the devil's advocate. If you want to stress the sarcasm or the condenscending tone, then it is patronizing.

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    Upvoted for humo(u)r them; I don't think what the OP describes is playing Devil's advocate.
    – dbmag9
    Jul 25 at 11:56
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The sort of statement you describe, such as if you say so, might be described as an insincere concession (in an argument) or an insincere confession (to wrong-doing).

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    Occasionally I use “stipulate” by which I mean I will agree for the purpose of this discussion“
    – Krazy Glew
    Jul 23 at 22:36
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Not an exact match, but this often takes the form of a fauxpology or non-apology.

The classic example is

I'm sorry you feel that way.

Which sounds like a sincere apology but on closer examination turns out to be implying that the other person's feelings are unreasonable.

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Yeah, right!

used when you do not believe what someone has said:

"I always miss you when I go away ." "Yeah, right!"

Depending on the tone and rhythm used by person A, it could actually mean anything between 100% agreement and 100% disagreement. Without any other indication, it should probably be understood as being sarcastic.

Here's a related joke.

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My first thought was "paying lip service" or "to pay lip service"

pay lip service to something

to say that you agree with something but do nothing to support it: She claims to be in favour of training, but so far she's only paid lip service to the idea.

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Another option is capitulate.

1 a: to surrender often after negotiation of terms
The enemy was forced to capitulate unconditionally.
b: to cease resisting : ACQUIESCE
The company capitulated to the labor union to avoid a strike.

2 archaic : PARLEY, NEGOTIATE

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capitulate

To capitulate is basically to fold* your argument in general, but not necessarily sarcastically. It can definitely be done in a manner derogatory to the other person or people in the conversation, but that's not inherent to capitulating. As the definition says, it's more to admit defeat than to be snarky, so it may not be the best option. However, you can be disrespectful when you are saying you are capitulating.

"I always have to capitulate to your narcissism, you SOB."

* Fold definition (also another option):

6a: to concede defeat by withdrawing (one's cards) from play (as in poker)
b: to bring to an end

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fold

You can also say "I fold, I give up", or something similar, to show your displeasure with their form of arguments.

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no contest, or nolo contendere

is used when a defendant agrees to pay the fine or other penalty for some crime, just to get it over with, without actually admitting guilt.

Sometimes a person uses the phrase sarcastically outside the courtroom -- that person at the same time (a) agrees to do the thing the other person wants, but (b) without admitting that other person is right, and simultaneously (c) sarcastically implying that other person is making too big of deal (practically a criminal offense) out of something not that important.

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