Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm not sure if there's a better way for me to word my question. I've sorted through "noun" + "adjective" search results here on SE, but found nothing approximating what I'm after.

I'm trying to think of an example of a word that means something like "person/role who is so closely associated with adjective X that there is a specific word for such a person/role". In other words, it's a noun that's the quintessence of an adjective + verb combination. In particular, I'm after adjectives closely related to emotional states, but with nuances about behavior — such as "uninhibited" in the context of being direct and not backing down when challenged about one's wishes.

For example, "person who is courageous". Which I can't think of a noun for. Edit: I found one! Braver is an adjective-verb ("exhibiting greater courage; facing danger/pain/fear courageously"), and a noun ("one who acts bravely"); where the noun is so closely tied to the adjective and verb senses that it's an embodiment. This kind of noun is exactly what I'm looking for.

Ingenue is close to the type of word I'm looking for, as it's a noun closely associated with several characteristics — some of which are descriptive of personality or emotions.

For comparison, consider "person who repels enemy attacks" as being defender. (What I'd describe as a verb giving rise to a noun.)

We have these kinds of words for psychological states in some cases (e.g. "manic" for someone with very high energy, erratic behavior — which is indicative of psychological struggles), in which the word seems to be a mix of noun, adjective, and verb. That is, we can say "She is a manic." or "She is manic." — and be referring to an idea of a type of person: a description of what someone is (noun; medical term), a description of what someone does (verb; actions), and a description of the type of behavior they have (adjective; degree).

Words like "paladin" may be associated with specific adjectives, but they don't seem to embody them — which is what I'm after.

Does anyone know of any, or better yet what the term for them is? Or does anyone know of a site that has lists of them, or a way to search for them?

(Thanks to RegDwigнt for the punctuation standardization. This is my first time visiting the site.)

share|improve this question

closed as unclear what you're asking by medica, Josh61, Kristina Lopez, tchrist, Rory Alsop May 29 at 22:52

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
"a person who defends against enemy attacks" => defender: nominalization of a verb, or deverbal nouns. You might be interested in morphology. Or perhaps more specifically, lexical word-formation. –  F.E. May 29 at 16:24
    
It's not that simple. There are nouns with very specific meanings, some compositional, like axe-murderer, but most having varying degrees of specificity. A good example is the English verbs of cutting, verbs of cooking or verbs of motion. They have many different dimensions of variation, some of which you may consider "adjectives". Really, though, this is lexical semantics, not combinations of "adjectives+verbs". –  John Lawler May 29 at 16:24
    
I kept thinking about "person who is courageous" and remembered an old Final Fantasy game. It had the word "braver" in it (see edit above) - which turns out to be exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of. Does that help clarify what I'm after, or bring to mind any resources I could use to find similar words? Thanks for the term "deverbal", and the links to the pdfs. I'll check them all out. –  ProlificAxons May 29 at 16:30