What adjective phrase describes a person that is happy with what he has, in contrast to:

  1. a person that envies what other people have;
  2. a person that complains about what he doesn't have?

In Hebrew there is a phrase "שמח בחלקו" (literally: "happy in his/her share"). What is the parallel phrase in English?

  • 7
    "Content with his/her lot" would work. – starsplusplus Mar 3 '14 at 13:29
  • 3
    I concur with @starsplusplus. Lot here means, etymologically, "what one is allotted", figuratively extended to one's situation in life, one's fortune or fate. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 3 '14 at 13:42
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    "Though poor the peasant's hut, his feast though small / He sees his little lot the lot of all" (Oliver Goldsmith) bartleby.com/360/1/213.html – CowperKettle Mar 3 '14 at 18:05

I think the answer is along the lines of what @starsplusplus said:

  • "definition/translation" (my qualification)
  • content with his lot (a little old fashion/formal)
  • content with his lot in life (a little more complete)
  • content with his portion (a common Jewish translation, perhaps a little old, perhaps literal)
  • content with what he has (a more conversational translation)
  • content with what he has in life (a more complete conversational translation)

I got all of these from various Jewish websites by doing google searches:

  • means שמח בחלקו
  • English שמח בחלקו
  • content שמח בחלקו
  • happy שמח בחלקו

With both the Jewish phrase as well as the translations, a common connotation is that a person is not too happy/excited/emotional/attached with what they have in life. Content describes this well.

The Jewish websites generally expand on the meaning in relation to the religious/spiritual associations of the phrase, but the above translations are the secular translations used in describing the phrase within the religious treatment.

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There are a few words you could use for this.

I would think the best might be satisfied, meaning:

adj: "contented," or "pleased."

Another good definition might be "content," which, in a circular way, means the same thing as satisfied; the definition of "content" is:

adj: "a state of satisfaction."

Even though both definitions reference each other, when you pick one, it will mean the same thing. Content(ed) usually means a person is happy, or at peace, with the current situation, while satisfied usually means a person feels they have adequately met, or completed, a requirement/desire.

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