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Jan 4, 2018
This week’s theme
Blend words

This week’s words
voluntourism
hokum
squirl
satisfice
scrouge

Herbert A. Simon
Herbert A. Simon,
who coined the word satisfice
Art: Richard Rappaport/Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

satisfice

PRONUNCIATION:
(SAT-uhs-fys)

MEANING:
verb intr.: To satisfy the minimum requirements in a given situation.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined by the scientist Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001) in 1956, apparently as a blend of satisfy + suffice. Earliest documented use: 1561 (as a synonym of the word satisfy).

NOTES:
While it may appear that satisficing is taking the easy way out, there are times when it’s the right thing to do. It can be bewildering to consider all the options that are available. Often it’s best to pick one or two important criteria and weed out the options, especially when stakes are low.
Sometimes making a suboptimal decision is best, when the alternative is decision paralysis because there are so many options. To satisfice is OK, we don’t always have to maximize or optimize. Sometimes good enough is more than good enough.

USAGE:
“A person can maximize when it comes to some decisions and satisfice on others.”
Elizabeth Bernstein; Decide to Be Happy; The Wall Street Journal (New York); Oct 7, 2014.

See more usage examples of satisfice in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
People who demand neutrality in any situation are usually not neutral but in favor of the status quo. -Max Eastman, journalist and poet (4 Jan 1883-1969)

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