English Idioms: People and Personalities - I
In your life, you have met - and will meet - a lot of different types of people. From friendly to rude, sensible to foolish, extroverted to introverted - you will probably encounter them all in your lifetime. Having the right words to describe the different people that you meet is helpful. In a previous blog entry, we looked at 10 English idioms that describe positive personality types. Now, it is only fair that we look at the negative ones. Here is a list of 15 ❛not-so-nice❜ English idioms to describe people:
A fast talker is a super talker, i.e. someone who is good at persuading people to do what he wants. A fast-talker can convince people to believe things that are not true or do things that they would not normally do.
Example: When I went to the car dealership, I wanted to buy a small compact car. When I left, I had purchased a van. The salesman was a real fast-talker!
A busybody refers to someone who is overly interested in the lives of others.
Example: Martha is always looking out her window to see what the neighbors are doing - what a busybody!
If someone is stingy or obsessively avoids spending money, he or she can be called a cheapskate
Example: When we go out; I always have to pay for everything. Fred is such a cheapskate!
A fuddy-duddy is someone who has old-fashioned ideas and is extremely conservative.
Example: Old Mr. Smith’s ideas are typical of the 1950s. He’s an old fuddy-duddy.
A goody-goody is a ❛Miss or Mr. Perfect❜ who tries very hard to please people in authority, especially teachers and parents. In fact, a goody-goody tries too hard to please them and is, therefore, not liked by his or her peers.
Example: Nola always hands in her English grammar homework early. She’s such a goody-goody!
6. gold digger
A gold digger is someone who has a relationship with someone in an effort to get the other person’s money.
Example: Nora is only interested in Mr. Higgins money. She’s a gold digger.
The typical know-it-all seems to know everything and annoys other people by showing how clever they are. In British English, this idiom is referred to as a know-all.
Example: No one is more of a know-it-all than Rodney. He is constantly correcting his parents and teachers on the subjects of European history and geography.
8. nosy parker
Someone who is ❛overly❜ interested in finding out information about other people is called a nosy parker.
Example: The Martins are always looking out their kitchen window to see what we are doing. Don’t those nosy parkers have better things to do?
9. party pooper
A party pooper is someone who ruins all of the fun at a party or get-together by not wanting to participate in certain activities or simply through negativity.
Example: We asked Lee to play a game of Monopoly with us but he said no. Instead of playing, he went home. He’s such a party pooper!
10. penny pincher
Although not quite as negative as the expression cheapskate, the term penny-pincher refers to someone who is very careful about the money he spends.
Example: Martha is extremely careful about the money she spends. She is a penny pincher.
A foolish, unintelligent or stupid person can be called a half-wit.
Example: I didn’t know that anyone could be that foolish. How could that half-wit spend so much money on silly things?
The term slimeball is used to refer to two types or people, both of them bad. The first meaning of slimeball is someone who is generally terrible - a bad, unpleasant or dishonest person. The second meaning is similar. It refers to an unpleasant person who is friendly in a way that is not sincere. In other words, someone who says nice things to you but isn’t being honest about how he really feels.
Examples: After 25 years of marriage, he left her to go on a trip around the world with his new girlfriend. What a slimeball!
First, my bank manager complimented my good judgement and told me what a valuable customer I am. Then, he tried to sell me a new investment product. What a slimeball!
13. smart alec
A person who thinks he is highly intelligent and tries to demonstrate this fact to others can be called a smart alec. Smart alecs often like to contradict and correct others and are, therefore, not liked.
Example: When I made my presentation, Stefan publicly questioned the accuracy of my statements. Why couldn’t that smart alec wait until after my speech to tell me what he thought?
14. wise guy
A wise guy is another term for a smart alec, i.e. someone who is always trying to present himself as being more clever than everyone else.
Example: So you think you’re right, wise guy? You’re not as smart as you think.
Worrywarts are people who worry too much or worry about unimportant things.
Example: Walter constantly worried about his children. He was a worrywart.
Which of these English idioms would you least like to be called? It’s a tough choice, isn’t it?