Definition of satisfactory in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌsadəsˈfaktərē/


1Fulfilling expectations or needs; acceptable, though not outstanding or perfect: the brakes are satisfactory if not particularly powerful
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Intermediate schools should be phased out as they are only satisfactory for pupils from better home backgrounds where the home influence is paramount.
  • I fear there is no satisfactory answer to this question.
adequate, all right, acceptable, good enough, sufficient, reasonable, quite good, competent, fair, decent, average, passable;
fine, in order, up to scratch, up to the mark, up to standard, up to par
informal OK, jake, hunky-dory, so-so, 'comme ci, comme ça'
1.1(Of a patient in a hospital) not deteriorating or likely to die.
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.2 Law (Of evidence or a verdict) sufficient for the needs of the case.
Example sentences
  • I do not consider the applicant has even now provided satisfactory evidence that she may be unfit to attend the bankruptcy hearing.
  • You have not produced satisfactory evidence of your identity, nationality or lawful basis to be in the United Kingdom.
  • The objective fact seems to be that there was no satisfactory evidence of damage.


The adjectives satisfactory and satisfying are closely related (both deriving from the Latin satis ‘enough’ + facere ‘to make’), but there is an important distinction. Satisfactory denotes the meeting or fulfillment of expectations, standards, or requirements: the car’s satisfactory performance in its first three road tests. Satisfying denotes the same, but goes further to connote the pleasure or enjoyment derived from the satisfaction: it was a satisfying one-dish meal.



Pronunciation: /ˌsadəˈsfakt(ə)rēnəs/
Example sentences
  • In his textual criticism he used symbols to show his doubts of the genuineness or satisfactoriness of verses.


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.

  • sad from Old English:

    The original meaning of sad in Old English was ‘having no more appetite, weary’. The word comes from the same root as Latin satis ‘enough’, the source of satiated, satisfactory, and satisfy (all LME), and the idea was similar to our expression fed up (early 20th century)—of being unhappy through being too ‘full’ of something. The word then developed through ‘firm, constant’ and ‘dignified, sober’ to our modern sense of ‘unhappy’ in the medieval period. In the 1990s ‘You're so sad!’ became the refrain of every teenager in the land, often to their parents. This use, meaning ‘pathetically inadequate or unfashionable’, was not completely new, and had been around since the 1930s. See also melancholy

Words that rhyme with satisfactory

factory, manufactory, olfactory, phylactery, refractory

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sat·is·fac·to·ry

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