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What is a less offensive synonym for “retarded”?

Can anyone please furnish me with a word, or short phrase, that would eloquently describe a person who has never had to countenance failure, one who is so self satisfied and self assured with himself that he has no humility? I am afraid that any words like "super smug prig" (my own personal favorite) would be invalid in the context of an academic essay.

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt, F'x, kiamlaluno, Kosmonaut Feb 23 '11 at 2:42

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

some punctuation would probably be helpful – advs89 Feb 22 '11 at 17:13
Possible duplicate of What is a less offensive synonym for "retarded"?. Before you say "no-no-no", please do read the top answer there. – RegDwigнt Feb 22 '11 at 17:22
up vote 1 down vote accepted

One adjective for this is "cocksure." Another is "hubristic."

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hubristic is real good, have to mull it over – iminei Mar 14 '11 at 18:00

Not an exact match, but vainglorious comes to mind:

vainglory: excessive or ostentatious pride especially in one's achievements ( http://merriam-websterscollegiate.com/dictionary/vainglory )

And by following a few links on that page: overweening ( http://merriam-websterscollegiate.com/dictionary/overweening ). I've not actually seen this one used personally, but I do like the fact that it sounds like "wieny/weeny" ( => wiener => sausage => slang for penis )

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vainglorious is wonderful but maybe not for this guy, d'oh! – iminei Mar 14 '11 at 17:59

I don't know if this covers the entire spectrum of what you're looking for, but perhaps "golden boy" or "golden child" or "fortunate son" could be used to cover the "always successful, never failed" part, at least.

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thanks but not applicable – iminei Mar 14 '11 at 17:58

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