What Does “Fair Enough” Mean?

Keisuke from Japan wrote us an email and asked,
“What does “fair enough” mean? I saw people saying it many times in movies but I didn’t understand exactly what it meant.”

“Fair enough” is a response we give to someone to mean that whatever the other peson said, it is acceptable to us. It is often said in response to a suggestion or a compromise, where each person gets some of what he/she wants but not everything. We often use it when the suggestion or compromise isn’t exactly what we wanted, but it is good enough for us to accept it or we feel that it is fair (appropriate or okay in this situation).

For example:bull_pin.jpg

A: If you want to work in this office and meet with clients (customers), you’ll have to cut your hair.
B: Fair enough.

Lucy: The boss is coming to the office this afternoon. I’ll hide (put so no one can see) the Wii, if you’ll cover the pinball machine ( –> )
Jeff: Fair enough.

~ Lucy

This entry was posted in Language & Terms. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to What Does “Fair Enough” Mean?

  1. Grzegorz says:

    Fair Enough 😉

  2. Chuy says:

    Is it the same meaning like ‘all right’?

  3. Michele says:

    “Fair enough” is more specific than “all right”. “Fair enough” implies that you are agreeing to do (or accept) something that in a 100% perfect world you wouldn’t have to do. However, by saying “fair enough” you are telling the other person that you are not angry or upset about the thing you have agreed to, or that you have reached a fair compromise. It implies that the other person is also agreeing to something they wouldn’t have to in a 100% perfect world, or that you are getting something in return that is more valuable to you than what you are giving up.

    “All right” is more general. It just means that whatever is proposed is acceptable. It *could* mean that the proposal is exactly what you want, or it could mean that it’s not perfect but it’s good enough.

    I think that you could always say “all right” instead of “fair enough”. But there are times that you could say “all right” when you could not say “fair enough”.


    “How about you wipe the table and I’ll sweep the floor?”
    “Fair enough.” (In a perfect world I would never have to do any chores, but I am not angry about wiping the table.)

    “You can have the chocolate cake and I’ll have the vanilla.”
    “Fair enough.” (In a perfect world maybe we would have 2 chocolates and 2 vanillas so we could both have one of each, but in this imperfect world I accept that I can only have one.)


    “Here’s a thousand dollars.”
    “All right.” (The person giving me a thousand dollars didn’t owe me anything.)

    “Here’s a thousand dollars.”
    “Fair enough.” (The person giving me a thousand dollars last week ran over my laptop with their car)

  4. Fred says:

    maybe , All right, common sense … ?

    T h a n k y o u v e r y m u c h

  5. Gulls says:

    A : If you put in the first square of a chessboard 1 cent, 2 cents in the second, 4 cents in the third, 8 cents in the fourth, 16 cents in the fifth, etc
    I’ll give you one biljon dollar for the contents of the last square, fair enough ?

    B : Yeah, fair enough. I look smarter than I am.

  6. belay says:

    thank you very much those you explain
    both phrases.

  7. Chuy says:

    Perfectly clear, thank you very much.

  8. emiliano says:

    Thank you Michele for so good explanation, and Lucy of course that she genial, and for me it has been a new way of talking about something very usual. Here we have a word that means just the same, it is “vaaale” with the sound of a very long……., and it is completly different if we say vale, that is like all right in English.
    Now that I am reading A World Without End, very long novel, I am improving such a lot of new words that is a great effort. And curiously just today
    Ken Follet is in Madrid singning his books in Retiro Park, what I call “Feria del Libro”.
    I have just have read in the news that there was people waiting for him from 6 a.m., that is the big succeed that his novels have in Spain.
    As a matter of fact, he was in a spanish city Vitoria, when he thought in the second part of his novel The Pilars of Earth, so in Vitoria there is a statue of
    him as they are very fond of this writter.
    I have read a sentece in his novel that I do not know what does it means……”piss off”…that what Caris told to the abad being her very ungry with him.
    But I may imagine what it is……….???? please, confirm it.

  9. Gulls says:

    emiliano > Piss off > go away.

    You’ll find a real life example in a three years old newspaper >


  10. emiliano says:

    Thank you Gulls, but I thought it was something stronger, bad word…, may be?
    and I don’t understand what you mean about three years old newspaper……, please I am a hard headed.

  11. Gulls says:

    I mean.
    The old newspaper story on the website has been edited on 02/22/2005, consequently it is three years ago.
    Either the news and the paper are three years old.

  12. Jay says:

    Thanks, those two examples and Michele’s explanation are helpful.

    I’ve heard it so many times on American TV Dramas.
    When I heard it on the drama I was a little bit confused about the exact meaning.
    Because this expression’s used in various situations.

  13. Michele says:

    I think “piss off” might have different meanings in England and the United States. In the United States it means to make someone angry, and it usually takes a direct object (“That really pisses me off!”) In England it might be something you tell someone when you want them to go away, and it will just be the command, “Piss off!”

    In the US “I’m really pissed!” means “I’m angry.” In England “I’m really pissed!” means “I’m very drunk.”

    In the US at least “pissed”/”piss off” is only mildly bad language, though it is very informal. I would say it when talking to elderly people or my boss. I might not use it when talking to a 4-year-old child or in a job interview.

Comments are closed.