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I am looking for a positive, passionate word to describe the all-around capabilities of a person.

Any words better than 'all-arounder'?

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Btw, I think it is better to be "all around" person than "all round" person. –  Unreason Nov 21 '11 at 9:24
    
@Unreason: "I am in shape! Round is a shape, right?" –  Marthaª Nov 22 '11 at 17:05
    
@Lazer, judging by the thesaurus-like nature of the answers so far, I think you need to provide more context. Where do you want to use this word, and why/in what ways does "all around" fail to meet your needs? –  Marthaª Nov 22 '11 at 17:07
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8 Answers

"Jack of all trades" is a possibility but is not a single word. I would consider this to be a positive description of a person but some may consider it a back-handed compliment due to the expression "Jack of all trades, master of none."

In the I.T. industry, we have also used "generalist" to describe someone with a wide set of skills (for example: both UI and back-end).

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"Jack of all trades" is the one I would suggest. It's pithy and memorable. –  JSBձոգչ Nov 21 '11 at 11:51
    
Ignore this comment -- I just read the answer more carefully and this point is made there. "Jack of all trades" is part of the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none", it is mildly pejorative meaning that he can try his hand at anything, but isn't an expert at any one particular thing. If that is what you are going for then it is good, but I don't know if this second idea is what the OP wanted. –  Fraser Orr Nov 21 '11 at 15:41
    
I have to concur with Fraser here. I think that, in most contexts, "Jack of all trades" implies an amateurish quality to his work. –  John Gietzen Nov 25 '11 at 20:21
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Versatile came to my mind.

EDIT: Dave's answer reminds me of the word handy, which is listed by several online dictionaries as a synonym of versatile.

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I like versatile. Handy would be good if we were talking about physical labor, but versatile works everywhere. –  John Gietzen Nov 25 '11 at 20:23
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Multi-talented is good, as is Renaissance man (or woman).

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Polymathic, if the various capabilities are academic subjects.

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'Multifaceted person' could be used to describe a person with all round capabilities.

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Multifaceted would mean to me that the person has sides to their personality that are hidden or that only show up in certain contexts. –  John Gietzen Nov 25 '11 at 20:26
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For a "positive, passionate word" (phrase) try man of parts:

(idiomatic) A man that is talented in multiple areas of life. This includes but is not limited to the area of seduction. He puts very little emphasis on memorized scripts or "peacocking" and instead relies on individualized ways to charm a woman.

Urbandictionary treats cool dude as a synonym.

Also consider phrases including genius, hero, perfect, expert.

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From the synonyms of versatile here are some suggestions:

  • all-purpose, all-around, many-sided, varied

From the synonyms of all-around there are also

  • broad, overall, sweeping, wide

Note: this is not an attempt at an exhaustive list of phrases, rather a pointer in the direction of the sources.

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There are a lot of great answers already, but depending on the tone of your writing and your audience, you could say:

He was a MacGyver type

(based on the resourceful character on a still relatively well-known late-80's TV series)

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