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Is there a word for someone who really has their act together? Someone who has their time well-managed, is focused, works out, has ambitions, eats right. Not necessarily success, but there's a kind of trait that leads to it, that I can't quite put my finger on.

There's strong overlap with people who are competitive or are overachievers, but it's not exactly the same thing. "In the zone" is close, but I'm looking for a more long term or permanent kind of thing — the opposite of a slob or slacker.

Maybe there isn't a word, but there should be.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Jul 12 '17 at 20:48
  • Please note, that despite this questions recent undeletion and reopening, it still does not explain how the requested word will be used. In particular: do you want a noun or an adjective? Only a single word, or is a phrase acceptable? Why isn't "success" appropriate? Why not "has it together"? For this question to remain open, we really need the original asker to give more detail on how they would like to use the request word. – curiousdannii Jul 13 '17 at 14:03
  • @curiousdannii please note that the question was posted in 2013, the description tag on SWR did not contain the specific piece of advice: YOU MUST INCLUDE A SAMPLE SENTENCE DEMONSTRATING HOW THE WORD WOULD BE USED until 25 September, 2015. However, the OP has provided context, and clearly seeks the antonym of "slob" and "slacker", so presumably it's a noun, but his request is flexible enough to accept also an adjective as can be seen in the two tags which accompany the SWR – Mari-Lou A Jul 20 '17 at 5:50

18 Answers 18

20

There is a concept in psychology called self-actualization. It was described by Abraham Maslow as

"the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."

You might consider self-actualized

72

These words are in the sci. fi. vernacular, and have been since the 1970s. link

hoopy

really together guy

frood

really amazingly together guy

They are often used together for emphasis.

That Ford Prefect's one really hoopy frood.

11
  • "Well-adjusted"
  • "mature"
  • "competent" (as user49727 used in their answer)

You can take those traits to the negative side too with words like:

  • "anal (retentive)"

  • "fastidious"

  • "perfectionist" (though that can be good or bad)

  • "persnickety"

11

"Am I sure I want to add another answer?" the prompt asks. Let me think... yes.

sharp 2a : keen in intellect : quick-witted b : keen in perception : acute c : keen in attention : vigilant [...]
3: keen in spirit or action: as a : full of activity or energy : brisk b : capable of acting or reacting strongly; especially : caustic [...]
6c : clear in outline or detail : distinct d : set forth with clarity and distinctness [...]
8: stylish, dressy

e.g. "I ran into Carol yesterday at the grocery store - she's one sharp girl."

from m-w.com

10

A high-flyer otherwise spelt as highflier in the US.

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/high-flyer_1

someone who has a lot of ability and a strong wish to be successful and is therefore expected to achieve a lot

Someone who is ambitious, determined and is destined to succeed in life. A person who indeed has put his act together.

10

The gay vernacular has some good options, such as fabulous, or fierce...

the combination of a positive mental spirit, bold words and unapologetic actions...

or even more off-the-books, ferosh...

Meaning "ferocious", and applicable to hot guys or people with fashion sense; people who are zesty, feisty, and assertive in life; anything that is really stylish and vogue. Also applicable to anything that is just too cool to be true; things with zing, pop, wow factor and feistiness. Antonyms: douche bag 9000, douche bag squared, lame, limp, otherwise unsatisfactory, ugly. Negative version: not ferosh.

Hehe, hope this doesn't offend anyone's fragile sensibilities... but in certain circles (and increasingly, in mainstream media), these monikers would be far more effective in expressing the OP's "essence" than most of the other suggestions. ;-)

7

This one sounds a bit old-fashioned and dated, but there's the expression a good egg.

Wiktionary defines it as:

(idiomatic) A good person, someone to be trusted; a friend.

Collins says:

(old-fashioned, informal) a good person

TFD says:

a person with good qualities such as kindness; an agreeable or trustworthy person.

If someone told me, “Rebecca is a good egg,” I'd assume there's a fairly high probability that she manages her time well – that she is focused, has ambitions, eats right, works out, etc.

That all said, I think the best candidate here is the one originally put forth by the O.P., that is, the word together:

Rebecca really has it all together.

As a matter of fact, NOAD, under its entry for together, says:

(informal) self-confident, level-headed, or well organized : she seems a very together young woman.

I think that self-confident, level-headed, and well-organized do a fairly good job of encompassing the traits the O.P. is looking for.

7

I would use the word composed to describe a person who has their act together. For example, when someone is making a speech, people sometimes remark that the well-prepared ones look quite composed.

From MW:

com·posed | kəmˈpōzd | adjective | adjective: composed

  • having one's feelings and expression under control; calm.
6

"Ace" generally denotes one who is an expert at that which they do. As in "An ace driver" or "An ace pilot". Though it usually has to do with a particular profession, it still denotes an all-together excellence and aptitude.

"Professional" also works, though this specifically refers to one's job, it denotes being not just well-versed in one's field, but also a sense of respetfulness in how they conduct themselves. Likewise, "Pro" is a somewhat slang term, that technically refers to someone who is very good at what it is they do.

6

Someone who has their time well-managed, is focused, works out, has ambitions, eats right.

"Motivated" is an acceptable (if somewhat generic-sounding) term for someone who fits this description.

Adjective

motivated (comparative more motivated, superlative most motivated)

  1. Enthusiastic, especially about striving toward a goal.

    We're looking for a highly motivated individual who will fit into our fast-paced corporate culture.

(from Wiktionary)

  • "Motivated" implies at least a moderate degree of effort and ambition but isn't as forceful as calling someone straight-up "ambitious."
  • "Motivated" implies at least moderate competence, but not necessarily any special expertise.
  • It's easy to focus the scope of your description by using it to describe a specific activity:

    "John is a motivated chess player."

    Meaning John is focused and hard-working when it comes to chess, but not necessarily his other pursuits in life.

  • Because it's a word that tends to show up in business language (particularly résumés), "motivated" is probably going to seem a bit milquetoast if used in dramatic writing.

6

Sounds to me as though this imaginary person "has his head on straight."

He's also a bit of a Renaissance man, if in addition to the various things he keeps in balance he can also do a host of other things well once he puts his mind to it.

If not, he's just a "well-rounded individual."

I find him annoying.

6

An "Elite"?

I knew a girl at uni who was heading for a first in Architecture, whilst doing a 20 hour a week office job via teleworking from home, was also a lieutenant in the TA which ate most weekends, did competitive fell-running-with-a-map, and had time to socialise. What I could do in an hour, she did in 10 mins.

If you're a geek, and your main strength is your intellect, then you meet someone who is not only smarter but also excels in all the areas you suck... that's what I'd call an elite. Well, I'd call someone who had a balanced mix of physical, mental and social elements an "all rounder", but if they have copious amounts of each then I'd say elite.

This guy did a 3 year uni course in one year: http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/do-it-now.htm

Some quotes/responses from some awesome people I've met:

  • It takes me an hour to foobar "If you have 10 mins to foobar an hours worth of stuff, you just do it in 10 mins"
  • I don't have the time "MAKE time"
  • "You have to move your body parts faster, harder." awkward unintended innuendo silence
  • The fastest I can do this is in 90 mins, it can't be done in an hour! ~"I can do it in 20 mins 0_0 Don't write things down it takes too long, just memorize them. And do the working out in your head. Quickly"
5

It may not be conventional enough but, having fun, I'd describe that person as streamlined (streamlined for success). The word implies that one cannot be a slob or slacker since we associate it with aerodynamics, engineering, intention, and intelligence. It also has that sense of elegance and attractiveness, and conjures images of the kind of car that makes others jealous (ref to JBJ's laugh-inducing comment).

4

Mensch

This is a Yiddish word, but it means exactly what you're looking for


There is plenty of slang, like calling someone a boss.

"Did you see how he did that? Dude is a real boss."

But any such terms will not be sufficiently formal for print or other professional formats.

4

My last answer was so controversial I'm going to throw in something slightly less objectionable:

tight: 7a : characterized by firmness or strictness in control or application or in attention to details b : marked by control or discipline in expression or style : having little or no extraneous matter c : characterized by a polished style and precise arrangements in music performance

Applying these three concepts to a person, it indicates: high control, discipline, efficiency, and work ethic.

from m-w.com

In all seriousness, this is only slightly less controversial than my 1st answer- this definition of "tight" appears in M-W (American) but doesn't show up the same in Oxford (British). I suspect this is because

tight British informal not willing to spend or give much money; mean: he is tight with his money

shows up in British English but not American English.

from oxforddictionaries.com

3

If the speaker was from the US and the individual being referenced was from the US, I might suggest

All-American: adjective
1 possessing qualities characteristic of US ideals, such as honesty, industriousness, and health: his all-American wholesomeness

in such usage considering

All-American: also all-America) US (of a sports player)
honoured as one of the best amateur competitors in the US: an all-American wrestler

from oxforddictionaries.com

Specific to young athletes, an "all-American" has been voted among the best in his/her sporting class. Considered generally, an "all-American" is someone who embodies American ideals, such as a strong work ethic, honesty, and good, clean fun.

While not all Americans meet these ideals, these principles would be applicable to any "all-American" [athlete]. One should have to have a solid work ethic to be at the top of one's sport amongst tens of thousands of other competitors. You don't even need to be American to be All-American (e.g. cross country requirements for eligibility: Top 40 runners without regard to citizenship).

It does not mean, as has been suggested, that only Americans have these ideals or that all (and exclusively) Americans fit this standard, but rather that "All-Americans" are better-than-average Americans.

2

It seems to me that many new answers are concentrating solely on the single more dynamic aspect of the OP question, rather than thinking of the whole. So, in order to focus back to the original query we need to know exactly what is being asked here.

  • the opposite of a slob or slacker
  • There's strong overlap with people who are competitive or are overachievers
  • Someone who has their time (1) well-managed, (2) is focused, (3) works out, (4) has ambitions, and (5) eats right.

A get-up-and-go 1. person
someone with energy and drive and 2. Initiation of action motivated by energy and ambition

I'd say get-up-and-go; mental determination def.5 fits 3 and 4

And as for 1, 2 and 5, I would suggest that the word efficient expresses these qualities.

1

This question is based on a naive assumption that most people find the notion of "having one's act together" useful enough to want to communicate it often, with single word. However, most people don't think in such broad terms these days, that's why there is no word for it and there can't be.

Back in the days when people were more simple-minded and tended to generalize more, they used to call such people "good".

protected by tchrist Jul 12 '17 at 20:41

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