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Any situation, any time; this person has always something negative to say about it.

It should be a noun or an adjective to describe a person who is a damp cloud walking over every sunshine situations at the cubicle, hoping to drench other people with his miserable comments.

I considered "sourpuss" but would prefer something more important sounding, like "misogynist."

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You need to add more context but If you are looking for 'pessimist', here it is. – haha Jan 6 at 10:46
You need to explain whether you want a noun or an adjective, and preferably, give us an example sentence you would use the word in. – curiousdannii Jan 6 at 11:51
I do not have one word (although there are plenty). In the words of former Vice President Spiro Agnew, the person you describe is a "nattering nabob of negativism." That's how he described a bunch of news reporters. See deseretnews.com/article/865644675/… Don – rhetorician Jan 6 at 12:05
Usually we call this person a "realist"... they'll often be giving the most sane advice, removed from emotion and impulses. They may seem like a "downer" or "pessimist", but if you reflect, you may find that individual was right a lot of the time. – SnakeDoc Jan 6 at 21:36
MODS, please consider deleting answers posted as comments. – user1717828 Jan 6 at 22:51

16 Answers 16

up vote 39 down vote accepted

In British English, "Naysayer" is common for someone who says that something is not possible, won't work, shouldn't be tried, etc.

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I'm from the U.S. and this was either the first or second word that occurred to me. – David K Jan 6 at 20:01
This is the closest to the one I was looking for. Thanks :) – Sophia Jan 7 at 4:38
@ed86 Google says - A naysayer is 'a person who habitually expresses negative or pessimistic views: Despite a general feeling that things were going well, a few naysayers tried to cast gloom. ' – Sophia Jan 7 at 8:22
The OP wants an adjective, is there an adjective form of naysayer? – curiousdannii Jan 7 at 9:15
@curiousdannii "Naysayerous", "Naysayeristic"? :-) The examples given in the question were nouns and I suspect this is what the OP actually wanted. – Ian Goldby Jan 7 at 9:27



a person who deliberately spoils the enjoyment of others.

"a few killjoys try to reform the seasonal activities"

synonyms: spoilsport, moaner, complainer, mope, prophet of doom, Cassandra,

Jeremiah, death's head at a feast

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Maybe I'm being a killjoy, but can you use the term even if the situation isn't fun to begin with? From the description, the person would seem to make every situation even worse. I would feel weird describing someone as a "killjoy" when there was no "joy" to begin with - except maybe as a kind of sarcasm. – DoubleDouble Jan 6 at 19:46
@DoubleDouble I think someone who tries to prevent a negative situation from becoming a positive one or tries to make the negative situation worse could also be described as a killjoy. For instance, I would call someone who shoots down fun suggestions a killjoy. – ChongDogMillionaire Jan 6 at 23:47
I sort of agree with @DoubleDouble, because, this person sort of exists to swoop in anytime, anywhere with his cloud of negativity. Killjoy and party-pooper (lol) are used to describe people who do not comply with the general party mood of the situation, right? For eg. Nancy is generally a happy person, but she became a killjoy by dropping out of the plan in the last minute. When we refer to a person as a killjoy, it may be because of what they did in a particularly 'happy' situation and not as a characteristic trait of that person. right? – Sophia Jan 7 at 4:42
An example of what I mean might be if you were undertaking some horrible task. Perhaps something like having to copy, by hand, a book into 500 copies. Then this person comes in and starts complaining about your handwriting. They complain how long you're taking. How you dot your i's and cross your t's and how you write the number 4. They don't think anybody will buy these copies, that you'll have to redo the whole thing anyway - you may as well redo them all starting now. - (At some point most people would tell this person to buzz off because they're not helping any) – DoubleDouble Jan 7 at 5:06
@BlessyJebaraj If you need a word to describe someone who is generally negative and brings people down, calling such a person a killjoy would be a fair and accurate approximation. That person doesn't let joy live. There is nothing wrong with using the word in a general sense. – ChongDogMillionaire Jan 7 at 5:35

Consider this possibility (definition from Oxford Dictionaries online):

curmudgeon /kərˈməjən/ noun A bad-tempered or surly person.

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Hello, kilgore, and welcome to English Language & Usage. Your suggestion isn't bad, but at EL&U it's important to cite and—if possible link to—your sources. (I have added the appropriate citation an link to your answer.) Thanks! – Sven Yargs Jan 6 at 19:10

My favorite of all time comes from a Saturday Night Live character: Debbie Downer. Ever since, when someone's hellbent on constantly reporting about the sucky side of everything, you will often hear someone say to them, "Quit being such a Debbie Downer."

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Er, as Wikipedia notes, the slang phrase Debbie Downer existed long before the character did. – barrycarter Jan 7 at 5:00
The OP wants an adjective... I doubt this can be used as one. – curiousdannii Jan 7 at 9:16
@curiousdannii : I agree with you. The OP did ask for an adjective. But I'm not sure that the OP knows what an adjective is. The OP gave a nounal definition for the word they seek, one that is defined as "a person" with these qualities, and then the OP goes on to give two example terms, "misogynist" and "sourpuss," which are both nouns. So, while he said "adjective," everything points to the OP looking for a noun. That's what I based my answer on. – Benjamin Harman Jan 7 at 10:58

Grouch, grump, grumbler, complainer, moaner, discontent, malcontent, fault-finder, carper, sourpuss, crosspatch, whinger, whiner, misery(guts) ... will that do!

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I'd often just use the word Pessimist, I guess.

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This seems like the obvious correct answer. Adding a definition and dictionary citation might help with the upvotes. – DCShannon Jan 9 at 2:25

Negative Nancy:

(pejorative, informal) A person who is considered excessively and disagreeably pessimistic.

A less aggressive synonym, similar to Benjamin's answer.


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Yet equally passively aggressively sexist/genderizing (and, perhaps inadvertently, heterosexist). Yet more antiquated (than "Debbie Downer"), not having a recent pop-culture referent. Likely best avoided, in any case. – michael_n Jan 10 at 11:54

One of my favorite adjectives: captious. (Particularly since the flocking of those described onto social media.)

  1. Marked by a disposition to find and point out trivial faults: a captious scholar. [AHD]


marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections (captious critics) [M-W]

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Thanks for this word :) – Sophia Jan 8 at 4:50
It's a great word, thanks. The OED gives it a slightly different emphasis - Apt to catch or take one in; fitted to ensnare or perplex in argument; designed to entrap or entangle by subtlety; fallacious, sophistical. – Dan Jan 8 at 16:23
@Dan: It has that meaning (echoed by the second listed definitions on AHD and M-W) when applied to questions or arguments. OED definition 2 applies to people, as above: Apt to catch at faults or take exception to actions; disposed to find fault, cavil, or raise objections; fault-finding, cavilling, carping. I only included the definition relevant to the OP, but you're right that it has two distinct definitions. – Jeff Bowman Jan 8 at 16:38

As an additional alternative to the excellent answers already given, one could say

wet blanket

a person who makes it difficult for other people to enjoy themselves by complaining, by showing no enthusiasm, etc.

one that quenches or dampens enthusiasm or pleasure


The mental image I get from this is that of a group of people are enjoying a cheerful campfire, and then someone comes and throws a wet blanket over the fire, putting it out.

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Party Pooper

This would usually be used in a more social context and is definitely not more important sounding but it's an option!

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Haha, I love it :) – Sophia Jan 7 at 4:33
See also wet blanket. – stevesliva Jan 8 at 0:08

The word you are looking for is buzzkill.

buzzkill (Urban Dictionary) when someone or something ruins a special moment which may or may not be drug induced and (OED) - n. N. Amer. slang a person who or thing which dampens enthusiasm or enjoyment; a killjoy, a ‘downer’.

1992 Village Voice (N.Y.) 28 Jan. 51/4 This February-December romance would allow the old gal to stretch herself past providing the show's weekly racist buzz-kill. 2003 M. McCafferty Second Helpings 72, I will try not to be such a buzzkill. If I succeed, I will write happy journal entries.

http://merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buzzkill : one that has a depressing or negative effect

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To a pessimist, optimism is a buzzkill. – Mazura Jan 6 at 17:45


adjective (Oxford English Dictionary)

  1. Causing or feeling depression or despondency

Marvin was such a gloomy robot that even the automated doors sighed at his approach.



adjective (Oxford English Dictionary)

  1. Causing a mood of gloom or depression

Here was a dismal soul, dispelling happiness and light wherever his blighted presence was felt.

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He is not just a gloomy person, he is a person who inflicts 'gloom' on other people. – Sophia Jan 7 at 4:36
The definition of gloomy says exactly that: causing (inflicting) depression or despondency. The word causing implies that the effect is felt by others. – James B. Byrne Jan 7 at 17:23
I wanted to suggest Marvin! – Peter A. Schneider Jan 7 at 18:07

In my experience most negative people have a chip on their shoulder about something, thus, my suggestions are based upon that:

  1. Sullen

  2. Resentful

  3. Squidward (if you are open to cartoon references)

EDITED: One more I thought of: spiteful

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Sullen works! thanks :) – Sophia Jan 7 at 4:36

I wish to add the word 'cribber' from to crib [(intransitive) (informal) to grumble]. However, I really wanted to share the term 'cacoethes carpendi' which should be in everybody's arsenal when coping with such personages!

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US A person whose lack of enthusiasm or bad temper has a depressing effect on others [C20: from a character in the 1957 children's book How the Grinch stole Christmas by Dr Seuss (1904-91), US writer and illustrator, whose full name was Theodor Seuss Geisel] CED


A chronic, whining complainer AHD


A person who cries or complains readily or often, esp. with little cause. [1850–55, Amer.] Random House

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  1. a person who spoils other people's fun or enjoyment
  2. One who spoils the pleasure of others


I don't want to sound like a killjoy, but shouldn't we study tonight?

(His perpetually negative attitude made him a real killjoy when others were trying to have fun)

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