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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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Thanks, Mahnax. English is my second language. –  Daniel Dec 4 '11 at 1:19
    
No problem. What is your first? –  Mahnax 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
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closed as off topic by JeffSahol, Robert Cartaino Dec 4 '11 at 19:06

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3 Answers

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
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+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
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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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