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What is the best word that I could use to describe a person that seems to attract negative situations? Every time I am around him/her, something bad always seems to happen. Is there a word to describe this person?

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closed as off topic by JeffSahol, Robert Cartaino Dec 4 '11 at 19:06

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Thanks, Mahnax. English is my second language. – Daniel Dec 4 '11 at 1:19
No problem. What is your first? – user11550 Dec 4 '11 at 1:33
You have a few answers to get you started but we're trying to avoid using this site for "single word requests." If you have a particularly interesting problem to solve, all we ask is that you put a bit of effort and research into the question. See: meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/1654/… or meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/2160/… – Robert Cartaino Dec 4 '11 at 19:06
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You call such a person a jinx.

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Thanks, Jasper. – Daniel Dec 4 '11 at 1:19
+1 I love this word. – Daniel Dec 4 '11 at 1:39
+1 for the right word and a crisp answer. – Kris Dec 4 '11 at 12:01

Lightning rod, figuratively a "person or thing that is a target for negative reactions and distracts criticism from another target" is an alternative to jinx, a "person or thing supposed to bring bad luck", as is jonah, a "person or object which is deemed to cause bad luck; a jinx".

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All of these are used in context alongside the idea of "luck" or that this person is simply a victim that attracts negative situations. If you're trying to describe the person as having a negative disposition (and possibly causing his/her own suffering) then you may use these idioms. However, idioms are strictly informal, use caution in professional settings.

Negative people can be called

  • Debbie Downer
  • Susie Raincloud
  • Negative Nancy
  • Grumpy Gus

These refer to disposition rather than situational negativity...I don't know if this helps.

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