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Sample sentence:

In a meeting with the mechanic, I floated that I might be interested in buying the vehicle.

What respectful — non-slang — words or phrase could I use here instead of "floated"?

In Hungarian, the formal variant is a phrase: 'kilátásba helyez'

What I have tried:

  • I probed my memory for two days: somehow it feels like it's on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn't catch it.
  • put the Hungarian term into the biggest Hungarian-operated dictionary (no luck)
  • put the Hungarian term into Google Translate (no-no)
  • put the Hungarian term into Bing Translate (yay: maybe it has to do with prospect?)
  • thesaurus.com (only pieces of wood floating there)
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    Suggested works here, or heck, you could just use said. May 5 at 13:07
  • @FeliniusRex cool indeed! But: "you could just use said" then I would not learn anything! Also: now I have to sratch this itch! Also: my writing style is admittedly a bit embellished otherwise: "said" in its short simplicity would stand out.
    – Levente
    May 5 at 13:09
  • The idiom is: to float an idea.
    – Lambie
    May 5 at 14:26
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You could use "raised the idea" or "raised the prospect." But "floated the idea" is not slang, nor would I classify it as very informal.

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  • What if I "floated the prospect"? Would that ruin it? Would that risk of taking away from its non-slang-ness?
    – Levente
    May 5 at 14:49
  • I have done a web search, and I had found a lot of results like this: "In reaction to the dam idea, the Indian government has floated the prospect of building another dam [...]", so, let's just say I'm very happy. Thank you.
    – Levente
    May 5 at 14:59
  • On further searches I found that "raised the prospect" is somehow different, but I have hard time to put my finger on how, right now. "Floating the prospect" however, had serially shown up as consistent with my scenario, and with formal settings. So if you added this variant in the answer, (while, optionally, explained the slight difference involving "raising the prospect") I could accept this.
    – Levente
    May 5 at 15:06
  • Further results: "The governor of the Bank of England has raised the prospect that, after Brexit [...]" (From a British publication); "Texas Democrats raised the prospect Wednesday that a change in the way Texas reports election results [...]" from a Texan press channell. I conclude, your answer is already acceptable. :)
    – Levente
    May 5 at 15:11
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The definition of "floated" that applies is To offer for consideration; suggest: floated my idea to the committee. I don't know the exact nuance of the Hungarian, but I assume you want to express that you made a proposal to see how someone might react to it instead of making a firm proposal to ask someone to decide yes or no.

You could use "hinted", or To express or state indirectly:

In a meeting with the mechanic, I hinted that I might be interested in buying the vehicle.

"Suggested", or To express or say indirectly: The police officer seemed to be suggesting that the death was not an accident., might also work.

In a meeting with the mechanic, I suggested that I might be interested in buying the vehicle.

"Hinted" is a little more indirect in my opinion than "suggested".

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  • I will remember these when the nuance in context will benefit these! Thank you.
    – Levente
    May 5 at 15:00

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