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From what I can gather, "resourceful" seems to refer more to someone who can use the available resources in efficient ways. I'm thinking more about someone who has lots of resources at hand (money, connections, information, etc.) but doesn't necessarily make good use of them.

  • edit: to clarify, I am not looking for a word describing someone who (purposely or not) makes wasteful use of the resources they have at hand. In fact, the use of the resources is irrelevant; I'm looking to describe only the existence (and abundance) of such resources.

  • edit 2: I was looking for something generic, to place in a sentence similar to: "when choosing the person to perform a task, one should take into account their skills, availability, and X", where X would ideally be "resourcefulness", but instead meaning something like "how good is their access to the relevant resources" (assuming resources could be various things, but mostly material and social).
    There doesn't seem to be a single term to define this, so despite many good answers, I'm afraid I'm going to have to go with "influential" (or, in the example sentence above, "influence").
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It's the "doesn't necessarily make good use of them" that is the key here. But do you intend that this person knows they have access but squanders them, or that they don't even realize that they have access, or that they are naive in their use of those resources? –  Jim Mar 3 '12 at 21:35
Ineffectual is along the right lines here, but it usually takes a modifier rather than standing alone: "Yeltsin proved to be ineffectual as leader of post-Soviet Russia." –  Wayfaring Stranger Mar 3 '12 at 21:57
@Jim and Wayfaring Stranger: your questions/comments are precisely along the lines that "resourceful" is defined: they refer to the use made of the resources, not to the fact that these resources are abundant (which is what I'm aiming at). Please edit my question if you feel you can make this clearer. –  waldir Mar 3 '12 at 22:05
@Waldir: I tend to use resourceful when the intention is to point out that the person was able to make use of resources at hand that most others would overlook; i.e., that most others would not even consider to be resources at all. –  Jim Mar 3 '12 at 22:10
@Jim, exactly, this is why I needed something different :) I edited the question, see if that makes it clearer. –  waldir Mar 3 '12 at 22:14
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5 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

For someone with money, "wealthy" is the obvious answer (and connotes various kinds of abundance).

For someone with social resources, "influential" or "well-connected." If you want to suggest that they don't often use these resources, but that people would do things for them if they asked, you might need a more specific term describing the nature of their standing, such as "respected," "popular," or "well-loved." If it's just because they're powerful, then maybe "powerful" or "important."

For someone with intellectual resources, a person who knows a lot of things might be "knowledgeable" or "widely-read," or they might be "a polymath," a "jack-of-all-trades," or a "renaissance man/woman." Or they could be "clever." "Clever" is sometimes used as a subtle insult (or as conspicuously faint praise) to refer to someone who has intelligence or problem-solving skills but uses them for trivial things.

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Thanks for the very complete answer. –  waldir Mar 4 '12 at 0:53
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l would describe then as "resource rich". Perhaps not the most elegant solution, but it avoids the alternative meaning of "resourceful" you are trying to avoid.

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I was just thinking about commenting that the phrasing of the title was a little bit off. Thanks for editing! –  octern Mar 3 '12 at 22:36
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Adjective: Spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant Noun: A person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way

These are people who have money to begin with.

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Sorry, I must have not been clear enough in my question. Please see the comment I made above. I guess I'll try editing the question to clarify my intentions. –  waldir Mar 3 '12 at 22:07
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Many of the most-appropriate terms are hyphenated pairs, rather than single words: well-outfitted, well-equipped, well-appointed, well-endowed, well-turned-out. Less-specific (but single) words include enriched, fortunate, moneyed, prosperous. In clover is a relevant idiomatic phrase.

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Acumen, sagacity (wisdom), adroit?

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