I can live with that

I can live with that is an idiom with an uncertain origin. We will examine the meaning of the idiom I can live with that, when this phrase came into use, and some examples of its use in sentences.

I can live with that is a phrase that means that one finds something acceptable, that one can agree on a certain solution to a problem. The implication is that the answer or solution is not perfect, but nonetheless, acceptable. The idiom I can live with that is often turned into a question: Can you live with that? The implication is that the questioner knows that the solution is not everything that the listener had hoped it would be, but may be an acceptable compromise. The expression I can live with that seems to have come into popular use in the 1970s-1980s in the United States, but the exact etymology is unknown.


“If we get our day in court, and it’s proven that it wasn’t PG&E’s fault — a jury decides it’s not — I can live with that,” said Wilson, who said his lungs were damaged by the smoky air he was forced to breathe that night. (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

You can do your shopping, your banking and just about anything else without ever dealing with a live person, and generally, I can live with that. (The Virginia Gazette)

If the last of those sentiments makes me something of a lawn-care chauvinist, well, I can live with that. (The National Review)

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