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What do you call a person who does/thinks the opposite of the crowd for just that reason?

For example, there is an almost-normal person, but this person has a special quality, (s)he likes things that go against "normal people", for example he likes Hitler, but stating that will begin and endless debate about morals.

Hipster may be a word, but is there a better word for that?

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marked as duplicate by Mitch, tchrist, MετάEd, kiamlaluno, StoneyB Sep 16 '12 at 17:06

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I think none of the current answers really answers the literal question being asked (although I see an answer has been accepted). Controversial doesn't necessarily imply contrarian or Devil's Advocate. If I like controversial things I'd interpret that to mean I like things where I'm likely to see lively debate or arguments, but I may like to sit back and watch and may not have any particular attachment to either viewpoint. –  Jim Sep 12 '12 at 7:13
    
@Jim, I added controversialist to my answer, which may answer the literal question. –  jwpat7 Sep 12 '12 at 8:03
    
"for example he likes Hitler, but stating that will begin an endless debate about morals" -- it seems 'normal' people do this all the time, only they don't "state that" because "that will begin an endless debate" TFIC. –  Kris Sep 12 '12 at 12:24
    
I wish the answer was "a controvert" (like an introvert or an extrovert). But it's not. –  John Bartholomew Sep 12 '12 at 13:14

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

From usage in general writing and esp., management literature, I would think of the term maverick, usually a person who is given to thinking differently from the conventional/ popular. Often, not just differently but radically opposite to the accepted line of thinking.

Though dictionaries define the term rather concisely in scope, you will see it used quite extensively in the media and also in management studies of personality.

"...maverick thinking is necessary to survive especially in times of crisis, when the rules of engagement in business change and when you set big goals to achieve big things. "

Many other references can be found on Google.

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An unorthodox or independent-minded person. I think this is the word I'm looking for. –  Goodwine Sep 14 '12 at 4:15

Answers to question #70526, “What do you call a person who does/thinks the opposite of the crowd for just that reason?” include: contrarian, individualist, loner, lone wolf, and lone hand, and Fumblefingers mentioned “nonconformist, renegade, maverick, rebel, radical, individualist, heretic, dissenter, dissident, iconoclast, loner, etc., etc.”

Note, wiktionary defines a contrarian as “a person who expresses a contradicting viewpoint, especially one who denounces the majority persuasion”, and also shows a different sense for contrarian market analysts.

The word controversialist may be relevant; wiktionary defines this as “One who regularly engages in public controversies” and offers the example “Richard Dawkins has become a leading controversialist in a few areas.”

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Thanks for the edit in your post. –  Goodwine Sep 14 '12 at 4:14

Contrarian:

opposing or rejecting popular opinion or current practice:

the comment came more from a contrarian disposition than moral conviction

Wiktionary defines a contrarian as:

a person who expresses a contradicting viewpoint, especially one who denounces the majority persuasion

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I would call them contrary. The question didn't specify a noun and I think contrary is a more common word than contrarian. –  starsplusplus Jan 23 at 16:41

That might be devil's advocate

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I'd say polemist (or polemicist), but I'm not sure how natural that sounds for native speakers.

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Polemist I hadn't seen before, but polemicist is well-known and mostly relevant. I tend (without a basis I can pin down) to think of polemicists as bitterly engaging in controversy, but not necessarily “liking controversial things” as question title asks for. –  jwpat7 Sep 12 '12 at 8:09

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