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content versus satisfied

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Hese, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. Hese Senior Member

    German
    Hello there,

    is there any significant difference between content/satisfied and happy?

    My dictionary explains that "content" needs to be used predicatively only, so I cannot say "he is a content man" but "the man is content".

    Can I say "I'm content with my life"? I come across it only in written form, all I hear is "I'm happy/satisfied with my life".

    Is it a matter of register? Is it more formal to say "I'm content to live in England"? Sounds strange to me but I may be wrong!

    Thank you for your help!
     
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    In these contexts (Yes, you can say "I'm content with my life"), "content" is slightly different in meaning than "satisfied" or "happy". To be content does not necessarily imply "happiness" or "satisfaction" - it means that you are at peace with the circumstances.

    A criminal who has spent many years in prison could, conceivably, be "content" with prison life. He has accepted his circumstances and does not have any major grievances. This doesn't mean that he's happy or satisfied.
     
  3. Hese Senior Member

    German
    So it's better to be "happy" than "content" with one's life! :)

    Thank you
     
  4. contentnotsatisfied New Member

    English
    I agree with DIMCL comments WITH EXCEPTION:
    "A criminal who has spent many years in prison could, conceivably, be "content" with prison life. He has accepted his circumstances and does not have any major grievances. This doesn't mean that he's happy or satisfied."
    EXCEPTION: Just because he is content I don't believe he has accepted his circumstances. You can have peace in the midst of the storm but you want out of the storm.
     

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