Sometimes satisfactory things are not even satisfying.

What does it mean

Dont they both mean the same thing?


Satisfactory means something is enough or accepted. On the other hand, satisfying is something that is up to the mark you need or expect!

Said that, if someone's performance is satisfactory, it means the performance is acceptable. If it is satisfying, it touches the standards you expected!

In the sentence in question, the author means to say that in some cases what seems satisfactory (acceptable) is not even satisfying (what you expect).

Good answers are here.


The difference between these is the same as the difference between the verb "to satisfy" and the noun "satisfaction".

Satisfy (v): Meet the expectations, needs, or desires of (someone)

Satisfaction (n): Fulfillment of one's wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this

To say something is satisfactory means it satisfies a particular condition.

The tomatoes were satisfactory enough to put in the sauce, but I wouldn't use them in a salad.

Her performance on the skills test was satisfactory, but not outstanding.

To say something is satisfying means it provides satisfaction

It was immensely satisfying to the parents to see their oldest child graduate from university, as they had worked all their lives to give her the opportunity.

The most satisfying feature of the new house is the enormous rose gardens in the back yard.

The brief story you told us is hardly satisfying our curiosity. You need to give us more details about what happened!

  • But google definition for satisfactory is fulfilling expectations or needs – user61918 Sep 14 '17 at 6:09
  • Why are you just quoting the first part of the definition? sat·is·fac·to·ry, (adjective): fulfilling expectations or needs; acceptable, though not outstanding or perfect. "the brakes are satisfactory if not particularly powerful" – Andrew Sep 14 '17 at 6:13
  • what is the difference between meeting and fulfilling the expectations. dont they mean the same thing? – user61918 Sep 14 '17 at 6:15
  • 1
    Yes, they do mean more or less the same thing. You have to use logic. Since the first part of the definition sounds the same for both satisfactory and satisfying you have to look deeper for difference in nuance -- in this case the difference between "meet a condition" and "fulfill a desire" – Andrew Sep 14 '17 at 6:19
  • what about this sentence. I did not get a satisfactory reply from Dawn when I asked her out. this means her reply did not satisfy me. my expectations were not met by her response. or the condition wasnt met...huh? – user61918 Sep 14 '17 at 6:27

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