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I am looking for a word that best describe a person who has never experienced any hardship or setback in life. In Chinese, such a person can be described as "温室里的小花" (literally meaning a flower in a greenhouse that has never encountered the harsh conditions outside). I can think of the characteristics to describe such a person, example, fragile or vulnerable, but cannot think of a word that fits those characteristics.

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If you're a Game of Thrones fan I think "sweet summer child" fits the bill. –  M. Dudley May 7 at 12:10
    
A "hothouse flower" would be the closest direct translation of the idiom, but it has slightly different connotation--that of someone who is frail and delicate, and needs pampering to survive... –  Alex Feinman May 7 at 13:59
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Overprotected and sheltered. After some time, such people might be called "pussies" instead. –  Borat Sagdiyev May 7 at 17:56
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How about "babe in the woods" ? –  ermanen May 7 at 20:01
    
Related. –  tchrist Jun 7 at 20:39

8 Answers 8

up vote 32 down vote accepted

Privileged generally means the person was brought up well educated, well fed, etc. However, it doesn't explicitly mean that person hasn't suffered hardship. A privileged person can still suffer hardship.

Sheltered is used to describe somebody who has been protected from the some of the hardships of life (such unpleasant people, or unemployment, and can also mean moral pitfalls such as drugs or 'immoral tv'.). The term also has connotations that the person's life is constrained by this sheltering (eg. restricted social opportunities, lack of autonomy in choosing one's life direction).

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+1 for "Sheltered." –  user867 May 7 at 4:52
    
+1 "to have a life in which you are protected too much and experience very little danger, excitement, or change: Until going to university, she had led a very sheltered life." dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/… –  Kris May 7 at 6:51
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I thought of "cushioned" but "sheltered" is better. –  starsplusplus May 7 at 11:33
    
I'm not going to add another answer, but I think naive is worth mentioning as well. –  mikeTheLiar May 7 at 14:44
    
I am familiar with naive being used in this context, among others. Here taking naive as being an intersection of its innocent, inexperienced and unaffected meanings. –  Sam May 8 at 20:00

Consider also:

Overprotected, shielded [from life's hardships], insulated, cocooned, chaperoned, nannied.

As for a corresponding noun, one I can think of is delicate flower.

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Which one do you prefer? Are they interchangeable? Do any have more positive or negative connotations? Let's help out the OP a bit more! :) –  Mari-Lou A May 7 at 6:26
    
Well, Mari-Lou, I think the OP is the person best placed to make the selection: the quality of their English indicates to me that they will be able to do that without further help. All the alternatives I've suggested are pretty close to what the OP was asking for, and don't require much elaboration. The only additional suggestion I have is that it's worth looking up definitions in the metadictionary located at www.onelook.com -- that tool enables one to perform a single look-up and still compare up to several tens of definitions with just a few mouse clicks. –  Erik Kowal May 7 at 6:45
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Well... OK I'd agree if the OP were a native speaker who couldn't find the right word; it happens to the best of us, but what's wrong with adding a little bit more information, the personal touch or interpretation? Dictionaries are excellent references but the personal experience of a native speaker is invaluable imo. –  Mari-Lou A May 7 at 6:50
    
'Cocooned' is my favourite of your list. –  TrojanName May 7 at 14:41
    
+1 for “delicate flower” (but note that it is very often used sarcastically). I would also add sheltered to your list of adjectives. –  Bradd Szonye May 8 at 1:41

There's a colloquialism for it too. Born with a silver spoon in their mouth. I've heard it shortened to two words, just calling someone a silver spoon, or.

Here's some etymology from Wiki:

Before the place setting became popular around 1700, people brought their own spoons to the table, carrying them in the same way that people today carry wallet and keys. In pre-modern times, ownership of a silver spoon was an indication of social class, denoting membership in the land-owning classes. In the Middle Ages, when farmers and craftsmen worked long hours and frequently got dirt under their fingernails, it was important to not be mistaken for a serf or escaped slave. Under these circumstances, a silver spoon served the functional equivalent of passport, driving licence, and credit card. Since most members of the land-owning classes were smallhold farmers and craftsmen, the silver spoon was primarily a lower-middle-class cultural marker.

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Lived a charmed life.
Here is the definition according to dictionary.com, they have not encountered hardship due to extreme good luck.
Charmed Life: An existence that seems protected by extreme good luck, as in Robert came out of that accident without a scratch; he must lead a charmed life .

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Not a single word, but I have started hearing that such-and-such person was "born on third base and thinks he hit a triple."

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I've never heard that one, but I understand it right away. It's like my silver spoon one, it requires a little bit of understanding western culture, in your case Baseball. I do like like this one. –  kevingreen May 8 at 13:39

favored: enjoying special advantages; privileged

advantaged: in a superior social or economic position

indulged: pampered; favored

pampered: indulged

Consider also the phrases "be born on easy street/on the right side of the tracks," "be a Daddy's boy/girl," "live high on the hog," and "live the life of Riley."

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I believe the single word adjective would be blessed.

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Also consider the phrase babe in the woods, which refers to “a person who is innocent, naive, inexperienced, or helpless.” (Note that terms innocent, naive (previously mentioned in a comment), and inexperienced are also worth considering.)

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I mentioned this as a comment already but it has other connotations as well like all the answers here. –  ermanen May 8 at 20:31

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