Content = satisfied?

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duden

Senior Member
Slovak
Hi, can I replace the word "satisfied" by "content" in the following sentence?

"I am completely satisfied here." >> "I am completely cntent here."

Thank you
 
  • nuri148

    Senior Member
    Argentina, Spanish
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it is.

    Content = not dissatisfied, ok with.
    Contented = satisfied

    It's a slight difference, but as I see it content is neutral while contented conveys a positive feeling.
     

    GEmatt

    Senior Member
    English/BE, Français/CH, Deutsch/CH (rustier & rustier)
    No - that makes it into a verb rather than an adjective -

    I was contented by the cool fan blowing air, and so now I am content being here since I am now cool.
    I understand your use of the word, timpeac, but the OED has contented as an adjective all the same, and one of its definitions as satisfied, so I find that fairly compelling.

    Content is given as being in "a state of happiness or satisfaction", so I'm still stumped as to what difference, if any, there is between the two.

    Even the AE dictionaries seem not to distinguish much between them, with the small difference that looking up contented in the Merriam-Webster will get you a definition, whereas looking up content will get you a definition and will refer you to contented. This only tells me that the former is possibly the preferred version (and if so, probably in AE). Not much help:(
    Content = not dissatisfied, ok with.
    Contented = satisfied

    It's a slight difference, but as I see it content is neutral while contented conveys a positive feeling.
    I understand both of them as being positive, nuri148. What do you perceive as "neutral" in the case of content?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    To me, "content" is usually followed by "to X". For example:

    "I am content to play second fiddle to my wife."
    "I am content to stay on here rather than transfer in order to get a promotion."
    "I am content to help others but I wish to inspire others."
    "I am content to let things happen."

    In many of these sentences, "I am content to" does not mean "I am happy to" or "I am satisfied with", but instead it has more of a connotation of "I'm willing to go along with" or "I will not contest/protest."

    To me, that's where the neutral aspect appears.

    "I am content" and "I am contented", with no further explanation, seem almost identical to me, although "contented" seems to be more of a feeling and "content" seems to be more of a chosen state of being not necessarily related to a feeling.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I think content and contented are synonymous. Contented is probably more common as an adjective before a noun: the contented cow; the contented workers. . .
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I am content.
    I am contented.
    These two seem to me to be indistinguishable, but somewhat different from:
    I am satisfied.

    What is the difference?
    To me, at least, the versions with content describe my current state of mind, and tell you nothing about how that came about - there may have been no particular cause.

    I am satisfied, on the other hand, suggests that something specifically has happened to lead to that state of mind.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I think content and contented are synonymous. Contented is probably more common as an adjective before a noun: the contented cow; the contented workers. . .
    I was thinking of "cow" as well! :) "As contented as a cow" is a common saying.

    Do you think "This is a contented cow" and "This cow is content" are synonymous? To me there's a slight difference, but I couldn't say that it's different for anyone else.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    To me, content, contented means pleased with everything; not wanting anything more. I'm content with my present job. Bess is a contented cow.

    Satisfied is reasonably content. My boss is satisfied with my work. Sounds slightly less than content. On the other hand, there are "satisfied customers."

    ANYway, Panj makes a good point up there.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I understand your use of the word, timpeac, but the OED has contented as an adjective all the same, and one of its definitions as satisfied, so I find that fairly compelling.

    Content is given as being in "a state of happiness or satisfaction", so I'm still stumped as to what difference, if any, there is between the two.
    Be that as it may - I think that you can only use "I am contented" with a passive meaning, some sort of verbal action being performed on you. For example, taking James's sentences

    "I am content to play second fiddle to my wife."
    "I am content to stay on here rather than transfer in order to get a promotion."
    "I am content to help others but I wish to inspire others."
    "I am content to let things happen."

    you could not replace "content" by "contented" in those sentences because any passivity of the main verb is ruled out.

    I agree with River that you can talk of "the contented workers" - here the past participle (as all can) has an adjectival force so if we want to call it an adjective here I'm happy witht that as it is pure categorisation. What remains is its force as a passive verb. These workers have been contented by something, that's the nuance.

    Another example - "The window was opened at 5pm and the bird flew in the open window at 6." This would be the usual phrasing. I think you could replace "open" with "opened" window there, but immediately we change the nuance, it becomes "the bird flew in the window that some (idiot)one had opened", "open" simply relaying the fact is was, well, open.

    In certain contextless utterances, such as simply "I am contented", you can't know whether we are referring to a passive nuance or a stative nuance and I think this is where the confusion comes from in sentences where the context makes clear which is needed. At the end of the day you can't say "I'm contented in the private sector" - or if you do it conjures up strange pictures of you sitting there in a big chair being fanned as someone massages your head and someone else shines your shoes:D.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    Isn't it contented with? I never say contented, so I'm not sure.

    She's contented with her breast size.
    He's contented with the way he looks as an octogenarian.

    Your explanation sounds good, tim. But I still wonder whether it's wrong to say, "I'm quite contented to sit at home."
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Isn't it contented with? I never say contented, so I'm not sure.

    She's contented with her breast size.
    He's contented with the way he looks as an octogenarian.

    Your explanation sounds good, tim. But I still wonder whether it's wrong to say, "I'm quite contented to sit at home."
    I suppose it's not wrong in the sense that you do hear such utterances made on occasion by some native speakers - I'm certainly not a prescriptivist - but it certainly strikes my ear as non-standard and you can hear quite a lot of surprising things said by some native speakers on occasion!:D "He should have went" is something I just heard on the TV by a sports commentator, for example, and I wouldn't recommend that either.

    Oh, and personally I would also say "she's content with her breast size" (eg she has no intention of making them bigger/smaller - we are referring to her state).
     

    duden

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Hi,
    pls are both sentences correct?

    "I can´t be satisfied with this."
    "I can´t be content with this."

    Is there a rule - when can we use "content" instead of "satisfied"?

    Thank you
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    Generally speaking I would use "content" for a general feeling of well-being and "satisfied" in a more specific (and possibly more formal) sense.
    "I'm content with my life."
    "I'm satisfied with the results."
    I think I use "satisfied" more often in my day-to-day life.
    However, as a general rule, the two are interchangeable.
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    Tough question on the differences. There isn't a "rule." They're just synonyms. I think the posts already on the subtle nuances could be expanded a little, but with the same results: there's not much difference between the two. I think it was correct to say "satisfied" is more common in daily speech. "Content" is almost a state of being, whereas "satisfied" for me is more fleeting, usually in response to some quotidian occurrence. But even that doesn't necessarily hold.

    As for the difference between content and contented, the latter is a bit awkward to me, but it's a word. One is an adjective, reflecting a state, and the other is a participle, reflecting action that has been done. "I am contented" means something was done, or done to me, that makes me content. Or it ought to mean that; I think native speakers may slide those together too.

    All in all I think we strain at gnats over these two words -- or these three words.

    Hope you're contented with that.
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Were you not contented? Confused rarely means content. Or satisfied for that matter. In order to at least give us a chance to clear up some of your confusion you need to describe the context in which you would like to use those words, and provide at a minimum a full sentence for us to work with.

    Welcome to the forum, Monte Cristo.
     
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    timtfj

    Senior Member
    UK English
    And when would you use contented ? Thanks
    In a context where the focus is specifically on the feeling: He had eaten a good meal with close friends and was feeling very contented.

    As far as I can see, contented can almost always be replaced with content, but content can only sometimes be replaced with contented. It seems to me that in the contexts where both can be used, they both mean the same, or virtually the same.

    As for "turning it into a verb"---well, past participles are routinely used as adjectives. It's one of their functions. For example a walled garden or a cooked dinner.

    Edit: on further reflection I think that when the adjective goes before the noun it has to be contented to sound natural (like a contented smile in the post at the very top), but when it goes after the noun you have a choice. A contented person can feel content or feel contented, but has to be a contented person.
     
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