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What's the word (formal or slang) or expression to describe a person who customarily and too easily ascribes bad motives to other people's behavior that could also be explained differently?

E.g. I would like to say:

to a sufficiently X person, that thing could be interpreted as such and such..." or "if I were an X, I would think that...

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It sounds like pessimistic or paranoid to me. – Damkerng T. May 23 '14 at 21:10
related: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor – Ben Voigt May 23 '14 at 21:46
Arguably, "normal". :( – Hurkyl May 24 '14 at 12:26
up vote 10 down vote accepted


believing that people are motivated purely by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.


anxious or fearful that something bad or unpleasant will happen.

The person may actually just be narrow-minded,

not willing to listen to or tolerate other people's views; prejudiced.

Or biased, discriminatory, etc the list goes on for intentional suspicion.

I think such people are prone to projecting themselves (experience, history or childhood) unto others and hence, their thinking is always similar (in this case, ascribing people's motive as bad).

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Idiomatically, one word that could be used in such contexts is...

"An uncharitable person might think [that malicious intent was a factor]"

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That person could be described in a semi-slang way as paranoid if the evil plotting and malicious activity is directed at them.

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That's the thing, I was looking for a word that can be applied to a third-party observer. – Marcus Junius Brutus May 23 '14 at 21:59

The word I would use is suspicious.

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Shame this has so few upvotes, it seems to me it is the only word that describes this perfectly. – Vality May 24 '14 at 19:57
@ Vality Thanks. It might get more votes if I expended the answer. – GMB May 26 '14 at 2:21

A person who is abnormally suspicious is querulent

Denoting one who is ever suspicious, always opposing any suggestion, complaining of ill treatment and of being slighted or misunderstood, easily enraged, and dissatisfied; characteristic of paranoid personalities.

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I would say that the person has a very sinister outlook.

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See evil everywhere or see the bad everywhere.

An impure person sees evil everywhere and takes pleasure in the fact.

Are you one of those negative people that sees the bad everywhere you go?

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