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What do you call a person who always speaks the truth, never does anything wrong, and treats everyone fairly?

I am looking for a word or name of a popular person who was famous for having similar characteristics.

I cannot think of any example, but I can use the word "Hitler" to associate a person with authoritarian or tyrannical characteristics.

PS: Is there any ironic word for it?

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8  
“Never does anything wrong”? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. –  tchrist Mar 7 '13 at 11:56
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Very very boring –  Fortiter Mar 7 '13 at 12:47
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Imaginary, non-existent, made-up. –  Tobias Kienzler Mar 7 '13 at 12:51
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How about "a baby" –  Ganesh Sittampalam Mar 7 '13 at 19:52
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Obviously you call them a "bad liar". –  nathan hayfield Mar 8 '13 at 0:57

8 Answers 8

up vote 14 down vote accepted

A "goody two-shoes" is one possibility. A "saint" is another. A regular [This word makes the appellation ironic] "Mother Teresa". A "fraud" or a "one-dimensional fictional character" [There's nobody who's "never done anything wrong in their life"].

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10  
+1 for Mother Teresa which, I believe, is the kind of answer the OP is looking for. That said, Christopher Hitchens would have disagreed with the choice. –  coleopterist Mar 7 '13 at 12:47
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@coleopterist: Yes, well she was, by all credible accounts, a sham. –  user21497 Mar 7 '13 at 12:49
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I like Saint and Mother Teresa ... thx –  HappyApe Mar 7 '13 at 13:21
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@BillFranke : "all credible accounts"?? Pretty strong weasel words you are using. –  vsz Mar 7 '13 at 15:56
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@BillFranke: I believe vsz was merely saying that “all credible accounts” is essentially a “no true Scotsman” argument. You may very well be right, but the argument isn’t sufficient to show it. –  Jon Purdy Mar 8 '13 at 9:02

A saint could mean an extremely virtuous person and is one who could exhibit the virtues you have listed and more.

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yes, I like saint ... but I chose Mother Teresa here ... thx –  HappyApe Mar 7 '13 at 13:21

Either paragon or Sir Galahad (from Arthurian legends).

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2  
+1 for a paragon, as in a 'a paragon of virtue' –  Roberto Tyley Mar 7 '13 at 15:30
    
+1. Paragon of virtue was th answer I was going to offer. –  TRiG Mar 7 '13 at 19:32

I would suggest using righteous, upright.


References:


Holy Bible (NIV), Job 1:1

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

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A Jewish word for somebody who has never sinned and is righteous is tzadik:

Tzadik/Zadik/Sadiq [tsaˈdik] (Hebrew: צדיק‎ "righteous one", pl. Tzadikim [tsadiˈkim] צדיקים ṣadiqim) is a title given to personalities in Jewish tradition considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters. The root of the word ṣadiq, is ṣ-d-q (צדק Tzedek), which means "justice" or "righteousness", also the root of Tzedakah (Charity, lit. "righteousness"). The feminine term for a righteous person is Tzadeikas.

Webster has entries for tzaddik and zaddik which read:

1: a righteous and saintly person by Jewish religious standards
2: the spiritual leader of a modern Hasidic community

ODO's entry only lists the latter of the two senses above.

While not exactly irony, WP also notes:

The title of Voltaire's satirical novel Zadig also stems from this root.

Another eponymous word is seraph (with an adjective, seraphic):

an angelic being, regarded in traditional Christian angelology as belonging to the highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy, associated with light, ardour, and purity.

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I would say the word would be perfect. Righteous and virtuous are about virtues and moral rectitude. A person who does everything right is perfect. I understand you are looking for something that sounds a little more sophisticated. If you can tell us the sentence where you intend to use it, I could try to come up with something.

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A common way to say this sort of thing ironically:

Directly / to the person:

"Oh righteous one"

"Oh virtuous one" etc

As in, "But you've never done anything wrong, have you, oh virtuous one?".

It's deliberately talking in a venerating way that no-one has used non-ironically outside of religion or diplomacy since the middle ages.


When talking ironically about someone, you might use an ironic prefix of the type that would in less cynical times have been reserved for a celebrated or honoured religious or public figure:

"But of course, that's not how the venerable John describes what happened"

or "...honourable..."

or "...worshipful..."

or "...most reverend..."

or "...most holy..."

or "...most virtuous..."

or "...the great and noble..."


In general, using language with a flavour of religion or historical anachronism works well for this sort of heavy irony.

"But of course, that's not how the he-who-is-without-sin describes what happened"

"But of course, that's not how John The Benevolent describes what happened"

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"But you've never done anything wrong, have you, oh virtuous one?" Thats saying it sarcastically, not ironically –  RhysW Mar 7 '13 at 17:20
    
Irony and sarcasm are often used interchangeably in the above case. (cf. the phrase "Without a hint of irony") –  Joe Z. Mar 7 '13 at 19:42

It is worth pointing out that in the Christian tradition (which is the cultural background if not the actual belief system of most English speakers), a morally perfect human being is generally considered an impossibility.

For this reason, there really isn't a word for a morally perfect human being, just a lot of words for folks who are better (or more often, just think they are better) than most others.

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protected by RegDwigнt Mar 7 '13 at 18:35

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