My wife and I had <a spirited discussion> concerning...

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yyh777

Member
Korean
Hello friends,

This sentence is from the Ask Amy article of Jan 24, 2019.

My wife and I had a spirited discussion concerning whether adult children should call their parents by their first names or by their titles.

I looked up the definition of 'spirited' in the dictionary. It says 'full of energy, determination or courage'.

Unfortunately, I still don't get it. Can someone elaborate the meaning of 'a spirited discussion'? If you could provide some contexts, it would be way easier to understand.

Cheers!
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It sounds as if he's avoiding calling their discussion an argument with each having very definite opinions, sometimes called a 'lively' discussion, or in diplomacy, 'frank and full' discussion.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It sounds as if he's avoiding calling their discussion an argument with each having very definite opinions, sometimes called a 'lively' discussion, or in diplomacy, 'frank and full' discussion.
    To me too. It sounds like an argument that they later decided to re-label as a "spirited discussion".

    I think it is more honest to say, "We argued the point for a while and then we came to a reasoned conclusion."

    "Argued the point" sounds far less confrontational than "we argued over ...".
     

    Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Some examples:
    He offered a spirited defence of his idea at the meeting. (He argued well and strongly in favour of his idea.)

    He hadn't prepared enough for the race, and although he made a spirited effort, he was beaten into third place. (Although he wasn't well prepared, he made a really big effort to do his best)

    So 'full of energy, determination or courage' is a good definition of 'spirited'.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think it definitely means there was a strong difference in opinions but I don't think it necessarily means it was an argument. You can have a spirited discussion about something that, if the topic is not emotionally hurtful to the parties, can just be a lively discussion and an agree-to disagree situation.
     
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