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What is the single word to describe someone who doesn't appreciate what another person has done for them?

For example, let's say someone has sacrificed a lot of things and gone through a very hard life to make their spouse happy but the spouse leaves the person for very minor selfish reasons.

In other words, someone who is not appreciative of what the other person has done for them and never thinks twice to hurt the other person in exchange for the smallest benefit.

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A certain word beginning with C? – d'alar'cop Mar 19 '14 at 11:08
unappreciative? – virmaior Mar 19 '14 at 11:45
noun or adjective? That'll decide between "ingrate" and "ungrateful" – ArtB Mar 19 '14 at 15:12
Sorry, I couldn't decide whether I wanted the noun or the adjective. Thanks to you guys, I know both. Thank you! – Menol Mar 19 '14 at 16:08
up vote 26 down vote accepted

You can use the adjective ungrateful.

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If it has to be a single word (I assume you mean a noun), then ingrate fits the bill. It's still in common speech, but only just. It has a slightly antique flavour.

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Why does this get thrice the votes count compared to the second ranking answer? – justhalf Mar 20 '14 at 6:54
@justhalf because it's a better answer. This word is less likely to return as a search result due to being less common, and the term "ungrateful" by itself often qualifies a person as being ungrateful in one specific circumstance. Calling someone an "ingrate" characterizes them as serially ungrateful, which seems more in line with what the asker was looking for. – TylerH Mar 20 '14 at 13:28
This sounds very close to the French word "ingrat" which means someone who is ungrateful. – James Poulson Mar 20 '14 at 20:43
+1, but I don't agree it "has a slightly antique flavour" -- or an antique flavor at all. (In the States, anyway.) – msh210 Mar 21 '14 at 6:36
@msh210 It's a subjective judgement, probably based on where I've come across it the most. I'd expect to find it in a Victorian novel rather than in a more modern one. I don't recall hearing it at all in speech, though I probably have once or twice. – Terpsichore Mar 21 '14 at 11:08

There's probably a few options here, but I'd suggest self-involved

self-in·volved (sĕlf′ĭn-vŏlvd′) adj. Absorbed primarily or only in one's own interests or activities.


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If he/she regularly puts themselves first at the expense of others, is seemingly incapable of acknowledging the hardship of others, and it is a recurring feature of their personality rather than just an occasional oversight, they could be considered as narcissistic.

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I am not sure how often it is used everywhere but I often hear thankless.

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But "thankless" doesn't mean "ungrateful", it means that you're unlikely to receive thanks for something, esp. in contexts where it's necessary but not much fun. "Collecting dues for the office league is a thankless task." – DSM Mar 20 '14 at 14:16

If the spouse in question is unaware of, or simply does not appreciate the lengths to which the person has gone, they may be oblivious.

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I think oblivious lets them off too easy. Can't just plead ignorance with me! – Cruncher Mar 19 '14 at 19:42
I think "oblivious" can connote a sort of "wilful ignorance" - it doesn't really let them off the hook. – Blorgbeard Mar 20 '14 at 2:12
oblivious means unaware. Thus wilful doesn't apply. Can't be unaware and aware at the same time. – Michael Durrant Mar 21 '14 at 11:30


Specifically with reference to the OP statement:

and never thinks twice to hurt the other person in exchange for the smallest benefit.

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That statement is be necessary but not sufficient to define a sociopath. It would be like calling a box full of sand by a beach because beaches have sand. – JMCF125 Apr 4 '14 at 15:25

protected by tchrist Dec 13 '14 at 17:44

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