Emotional Competency

Explore the Logic of Passion

Trait Nouns
Symbols of People

As you meet people your mind assigns them a category, labels them according to the category, and associates them with particular symbols. Many labels, called trait nouns, have been created to accommodate the wide range of individual characteristics we observe. These words are typically used to describe personality traits, the intrinsic differences that remain stable throughout most of our life.


  1. Labels for salient characteristics of an individual, including your self.

Related Terms

Labels, symbols, stereotypes, and defining traits are all words that describe the symbols we use to think about people. While we use trait nouns as labels for symbols for people, we use trait adjectives as labels for symbols to describe people.


Symbols are the fundamental mechanism our memories use to categorize and organize information. They are essential to the efficient operation of our enormous and flexible memory. These symbols become dangerous when we confuse them with the actual person, or if they are inaccuracy assigned or interpreted.

The Trait Nouns:

Here, listed alphabetically are the English language trait nouns:

Actor, Addict, Adulterer, Adventurer, Aggressor, Agitator, Alcoholic, Amateur, Anarchist, Angel, Animal, Antagonist, Arch-villain, Artist, Atheist, Authority

Babe, Baby, Backseat-driver, Bastard, Beauty, Beginner, Believer, Bigot, Bigshot, Bimbo, Blabbermouth, Black-sheep, Blockhead, Boaster, Bohemian, Bonehead, Boob, Bookworm, Bore, Born-fighter, Boss, Braggart, Brain, Brat, Brown-nose, Brute, Buddy, Buffoon, Bully, Bum, Busybody, Butterfingers

Capitalist, Careerist, Celibate, Chameleon, Champion, Character, Charmer, Chatterbox, Chatterer, Chauvinist, Cheapskate, Cheater, Chicken, Child, Christian, City-slicker, Clown, Comedian, Comforter, Comic, Communist, Complainer, Compulsive, Conformist, Connoisseur, Conservationist, Conservative, Copycat, Cow, Coward, Crab, Creep, Critic, Crook, Cry-baby, Culprit, Cutie, Cynic

Daredevil, Darling, Daydreamer, Deadbeat, Deceiver, Degenerate, Delinquent, Democrat, Deviate, Devil, Devil’s-advocate, Diehard, Dingbat, Diplomat, Disciplinarian, Dog, Doll, Do-nothing, Dope, Dreamer, Drifter, Drudge, Drunk, Drunkard, Dude, Dumbbell, Dummy, Dunce

Early-bird, Eavesdropper, Eccentric, Egghead, Enthusiast, Expert, Extremist, Extrovert

Failure, Fake, Faker, False-friend, Fanatic, Fashion—plate, Feminist, Fighter, Flirt, Follower, Fool, Fox, Freak, Friend, Fruit

Gambler, Gangster, Geek, Geezer, Genius, Gentleman, Giant, Glutton, Go-getter, Gold-digger, Good-Samaritan, Goody-goody, Goof, Gossip, Gourmet, Granny, Grouch, Grumbler, Grump

Ham, Hanger-on, Hardhead, Hard nose, Heartbreaker, Heathen, Heavyweight, Hermit, Hero, Hick, High-flier, Hippie, Homebody, Homemaker, Honey, Hoodlum, Hopeful, Hotshot, Humanitarian, Hunk, Hypocrite

Idealist, Idiot, Imbecile, Incompetent, Individual, Individualist, Inferior, Innocent, Innovator, Intellectual, Introvert, Invalid

Jackass, Jerk, Jester, Jock, Joker, Junkie

Klutz, Knockout, Know-it-all, Knucklehead

Ladies’-man, Lady-bountiful, Lady-killer, Lawbreaker, Lazybones, Leader, Lecher, Left-winger, Lefty, Liar, Liberal, Life-of-the-party, Lightweight, Loafer, Loner, Longhair, Loony, Loser, Loudmouth, Love, Lunatic, Lush

Machine, Madman, Maniac, Master, Mastermind, Matchmaker, Materialist, Menace, Merrymaker, Militant, Misfit, Moderate, Money-grubber, Monster, Moocher, Moron, Mortal, Mouth, Nag

Neurotic, Night-owl, Nobody, Noise-maker, Nonconformist, Novice, Nuisance, Nut

Obsessive, Obstructionist, Opportunist, Oppositionalist, Optimist, Organizer, Outcast, Outsider

Pacifist, Packrat, Pain-in-the-neck, Pal, Paranoid, Party-girl, Party-pooper, Patriot, Peacemaker, Perfectionist, Pervert, Pessimist, Pest, Philosopher, Phony, Pig, Pioneer, Playboy, Player, Playmate, Plaything, Pleasure-seeker, Plodder, Poet, Pothead, Practical-joker, Pragmatist, Predator, Prima donna, Pro, Professional, Profiteer, Protagonist, Protector, Psychic, Psychopath, Psychotic, Punk, Pushover

Quack, Quick-thinker, Quitter

Racist, Radical, Rat, Realist, Rebel, Recluse, Redneck, Republican, Right-winger, Ringleader, Riot, Romantic, Romeo, Rowdy, Runt

Saint, Samaritan, Savage, Savior, Scapegoat, Scaredy-cat, Scatterbrain, Scoundrel, Screwball, Scrooge, Scum, Sensationalist, Sentimentalist, Sexist, Sex-maniac, Sex-object, Sexpot, Showman, Show-off, Shrimp, Sinner, Sissy, Sitting-duck, Skeptic, Slacker, Slave driver, Sleepyhead, Slob, Slouch, Slowpoke, Slug, Slut, Smart-aleck, Smarty, Snake, Sneak, Snob, Snoop, Snot, So-and-so, Softy, Somebody, Speculator, Spoilsport, Sport, Sportsman, Sportswoman, Square, Star, Stereotype, Stick-in-the-mud, Stickler, Stinker, Stoic, Storyteller, Strategist, Stud, Stuffed-shirt, Success, Sucker, Sweetheart, Sweetie, Sympathizer

Talker, Tattler, Tattletale, Tease, Teaser, Teenybopper, Tenor, Thief, Thinker, Tightwad, Tomboy, Tormentor, Tough, Traditionalist, Traitor, Tramp, Trash, Traveler, Troublemaker, True-believer, Turkey, Twerp, Twit, Two-timer

Ultraconservative, Unfortunate, User

Vandal, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Victim, Victor, Virgin

Weakling, Weasel, Weirdo, Whiner, Whizkid, Wimp, Winner, Wino, Wise-guy, Witch, Womanizer, Worker, Workhorse, World-traveler, Worm, Worrywart, Wreck


Factor Structure of English-Language Personality Type-Nouns, in press, March 2003, by Gerard Saucier.

Factor Structure of English-Language Personality Type-Nouns, Gerard Saucier, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2003 Oct;85(4):695-708.

Fear, Sadness, Anger, Joy, Surprise, Disgust, Contempt, Anger, Envy, Jealousy, Fright, Anxiety, Guilt, Shame, Relief, Hope, Sadness, Depression, Happiness, Pride, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Aesthetic Experience, Joy, Distress, Happy-for, Sorry-for, Resentment, Gloating, Pride, Shame, Admiration, Reproach, Love, Hate, Hope, Fear, Satisfaction, Relief, Fears-confirmed, Disappointment, Gratification, Gratitude, Anger, Remorse, power, dominance, stature, relationships

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