"agree to disagree"

Posted by ESC on April 24, 2000

In Reply to: "Agree to disagree" posted by Bob on April 23, 2000

: : what's the meaning of this? Does it mean,

: : we've defined our terms, now we can start discussing the matter at hand,

: : or

: : I've heard your view, you've heard mine, we don't agree, so we'll let it drop and go on to other things?

: : I'd appreciate getting a private email about this since I'm not a regular frequenter of this list (though I might become one; it looks fascinating!)

: : Thanks.

: : ccd@briegull.com

: the latter

"agree to disagree. To 'agree to disagree,' to remain friendly while holding differing opinions, is considered an Americanism by many writers. But in 1948 a writer in 'Notes and Queries' reported finding the expression in a 1770 sermon of English theologian John Wesley, founder of Methodism. What's more, he found the phrase in quotation marks, suggesting that Wesley hadn't invented it but had heard it elsewhere." From Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).