Violent agreement

Michael Quinion wordseditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Sat Sep 15 20:52:20 UTC 2007

Might I expose this phrase to the list's collective wisdom?

A correspondent has asked me about the phrase "violent agreement",
which he has come across as a business buzzphrase. It seems to have
three meanings, so far as I can tell from various online usages and
attempts to define it:

a) to be in overwhelming or enthusiastic agreement with some
proposition. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice used it that way
in a press statement last December.

b) to spend time arguing about a topic only to find that they actually
agree but don't realise it because they're coming at the discussion
from different viewpoints.

c) of a group who are all after the same goal but have totally
different ideas how to get there, so that they agree about ends, but
disagree about means.

Are members of the list familiar with the expression and in particular
have they come across the second and third meanings?

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: wordseditor at

The American Dialect Society -

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