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A challenger? I'm not a native English speaker but I think when people hear that word they naturally assume the challenge is not set by the challenger. I don't want to imply that.

If no such word exists, a synonym (informal if necessary) for a courageous person (in one word) would be the next best thing.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I can't think of a word for a person who would specifically choose to face challenges, but there are several names for roles that essentially boil down to that:

  • Adventurer
  • Daredevil
  • Voyager
  • Thrill-seeker

Challenger isn't quite wrong too - as one can challenge the inanimate too: a mountain-climber, who challenged the K-2.

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Not too wild about the synonyms though. These imply that the person who takes the challenge enjoys 'thrills'. I'm rather looking for a word that implies that the person undertakes it out of necessity (because that person understands the need to challenge himself in order to attain a certain goal). – Bentley4 Dec 3 '13 at 12:45
@Bentley4: Hero? – SF. Dec 3 '13 at 12:47
That indeed fits this description. But the word hero implies that what the person did held extreme risks. I'm looking for a milder term (for a person taking small to moderate risks). Using 'hero' in case of a small risk could have an unwanted redicularising effect (sarcasm). – Bentley4 Dec 3 '13 at 12:54

Perhaps quester

Quest is defined as

a long and difficult effort to find or do something

Quests way be self directed or set by others.

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Nice. However I'm going to use the word 'challenge' in any case for the project I'm doing (I think it's more fitting because quest implies a long duration, while challenge does not and I don't want to imply long duration). If I then use 'Quester' to describe a person who takes on the challenge than people will immediately think: why not take quest instead of challenge. And I want it to be clear without needing to clarify this over and over. So I can't use that either. – Bentley4 Dec 3 '13 at 13:31

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