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  1. beachboy's Avatar
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    #1

    laid back

    Does the adjective "laid back" have a positive or negative conotation? Or either, depending on the context? I kind of think it means "calm, relaxed", but I can't feel it. I am not comfortable to use it. Thanks

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    #2

    Re: laid back

    Laid back can have a positive or negative connotation depending on the context.

    Bob's laid back management style creates a lax work environment where things don't get done on time. (negative)

    Bob's laid back management style is the reason that his employees are so happy and productive. (positive)

    I would say that this idiom is a little too slangy for a beginning English user to use comfortably. The range of interpretations can go from "lazy" to "comfortable."


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    #3

    Re: laid back

    It's hyphenated - laid-back
    It means relaxed and easy-going. In itself, it doesn't necessarily have either positive or negative connotations, compared with 'upright' = anxious in a tense and over-controlled way.
    It would be the context and tone of voice and phrasing that would really push it into being seen as a positive or negative comment:
    Laid-back and easy to get on with
    compare
    a laid-back hippie (suggest someone idle, not accepting responsibilities)

  2. beachboy's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: laid back

    Thanks to both. Just one more question: is it common (or right) to use "laid-back" predicatively? Like "John is always very laid-back"?

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    #5

    Re: laid back

    Sure, that's normal usage.

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