Definition of satisfactory in English:



  • 1Fulfilling expectations or needs; acceptable, though not outstanding or perfect.

    ‘he didn't get a satisfactory answer’
    • ‘Finding at least partly satisfactory answers to these and similar employment-related problems, requires astute analysis.’
    • ‘She stared levelly at me, demanding a satisfactory answer.’
    • ‘For MacIntyre, moral questions can only be answered in a satisfactory way from within moral communities.’
    • ‘Admission to exams was open to students who had a satisfactory attendance record and who were deemed by teachers as likely to pass.’
    • ‘The transformation problem is nothing else but a repeated attempt to give a satisfactory answer to the question of how prices are related to labour values.’
    • ‘The knight began his journey to discover what women desire, but could find no satisfactory answers or responses.’
    • ‘I fear there is no satisfactory answer to this question.’
    • ‘A patient's experience will not be satisfactory if the caregiver is too stretched to respond appropriately.’
    • ‘Theo had asked him a number of times, but he never got a satisfactory answer.’
    • ‘We might or might not be able to suggest a satisfactory solution.’
    • ‘Although I have pondered and asked and experimented, I have yet to come up with a satisfactory answer to the question of what bestows on a person the right to belong in a culture.’
    • ‘One of the chief means by which the drainage would be improved would be by the development of a more satisfactory means of disposing of sewage.’
    • ‘He kept asking the question but wasn't getting satisfactory answers.’
    • ‘Intermediate schools should be phased out as they are only satisfactory for pupils from better home backgrounds where the home influence is paramount.’
    • ‘These are important research questions for which we do not yet have satisfactory answers.’
    • ‘Your potential employee doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to come up with satisfactory answers to typical problems in the job they are applying for.’
    • ‘From the outside, the car seems built to the highest quality, so the lack of a satisfactory clunk when the door closes are slightly disappointing.’
    • ‘We had many vets look at him to try and solve his problems, but without any satisfactory answers.’
    • ‘This measure would keep its creditors at bay until it can find a satisfactory solution to its troubles.’
    • ‘If I was to stay here, I needed to find satisfactory answers to a couple of key questions.’
    adequate, all right, acceptable, good enough, sufficient, sufficiently good, fine, in order, up to scratch, up to the mark, up to standard, up to par, competent, reasonable, quite good, fair, decent, not bad, average, tolerable, passable, middling, moderate
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    1. 1.1 (of a patient in a hospital) not deteriorating or likely to die.
      ‘Mrs Reeves was ‘satisfactory and improving slightly’ in Middlesbrough General Hospital last night’
      • ‘If her medical condition is satisfactory, it is likely that one of the parties could have obtained her evidence and have submitted it to the court.’
    2. 1.2Law (of evidence or a verdict) sufficient for the needs of the case.
      ‘the verdict is safe and satisfactory’
      • ‘You have not produced satisfactory evidence of your identity, nationality or lawful basis to be in the United Kingdom.’
      • ‘I trust that this will be satisfactory evidence of my paternal relationship with Julian and look forward to a favourable reply from your department.’
      • ‘I do not consider the applicant has even now provided satisfactory evidence that she may be unfit to attend the bankruptcy hearing.’
      • ‘There was no satisfactory evidence of the condition of the hull at Piraeus.’
      • ‘The objective fact seems to be that there was no satisfactory evidence of damage.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘leading to the atonement of sin’): from Old French satisfactoire or medieval Latin satisfactorius, from Latin satisfacere ‘to content’ (see satisfy). The current senses date from the mid 17th century.