A pessimist is someone who always considers negative outcomes of a situation, whereas an optimist always considers the positive outcomes. Is there a word for someone who, in any given situation, doesn't care about the outcome at all?

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    Your title and the content of your question do not match up exactly: there is a difference between someone who, in a given situation, is indifferent to a certain outcome, and someone who doesn’t care about anything at all. It would be helpful if you could add a more specific description denoting what type of ‘doesn’t-careness’ you are looking for, and whether you are looking for a neutral word, or one with either positive or negative connotations. Sep 8, 2013 at 11:16
  • 1
    There are multiple dimensions to this (like any question about antonym or synonym). 'Realist' or 'pragmatist' are as yet unmentioned.
    – Mitch
    Sep 8, 2013 at 15:44
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    According to most wives, the word would be husband. Sep 9, 2013 at 18:16
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    On YouTube, this would be a Honey Badger.
    – fuxia
    Sep 9, 2013 at 19:35

17 Answers 17


I can't think of a noun, but you can say "that person is apathetic".

Apathetic at Oxford Dictionaries

adjective showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern

  • 7
    Perhaps an "apathete?" "Apathist" is listed below also.
    – Jack Ryan
    Sep 8, 2013 at 20:54
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    Ooh, I'll add 'apathetor' and 'apathetician'. @JackRyan
    – 11684
    Sep 9, 2013 at 18:13


late 14c., "unbiased," from Old French indifferent "impartial" or directly from Latin indifferentem (nominative indifferens) "not differing, not particular, of not consequence, neither good nor evil," [...] Extended sense of "apathetic" first recorded early 15c.; that of "neither good nor bad" 1530s, on notion of "neither more nor less advantageous."

  • 2
    Doesn't seem to be a noun, as the OP requests. . .
    – Jack Ryan
    Sep 8, 2013 at 20:50
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    @JackRyan But it does describe a person in one word, and it fits the "doesn't care about the outcome at all" criteria.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 9, 2013 at 4:20

This might not be quite what you are looking for, but as an extreme case:


This stems from following nihilism (adapted from the OED):

  1. Total rejection of prevailing religious beliefs, moral principles, laws, etc., often from a sense of despair and the belief that life is devoid of meaning.

  2. The belief or theory that the world has no real existence; the rejection of all notions of reality.

A nihilist would not care about an outcome because it is entirely meaningless.

The word has some negative connotations from meaning 1 above, which may make it unsuitable for your particular purpose.


A fatalist. This does not just mean a person who thinks all things are fated; it has a derived meaning: a person with an attitude of indifference to outcome because of such a belief. An optimist hopes for the best; a pessimist fears the worst; a fatalist is resigned to what will be (regardless of hopes and fears). http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatalism

  • Although this person in question doesnt beleive in fate either. he just doesn't care
    – SoWhat
    Sep 9, 2013 at 8:05


free from concern, worry or anxiety

Unconcerned, undisturbed; carefree and nonchalant

Origin: 1820–30; < French, equivalent to in- in-3 + souciant present participle of soucier to worry < Vulgar Latin *sollicītāre, for Latin sollicitāre to disturb; see solicitous

as suggested in the definitions the other words I would prefer to use are:



All of these words imply a carefree attitude in a good way and lack the negative connotations of having no feeling at all.

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    I like nonchalant better than insouciant. I'm glad your dictionary entry gave a couple other good suggestions (unconcerned isn't bad, either); it saved me from having to write my own answer.
    – J.R.
    Sep 8, 2013 at 10:26
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    Yes I entirely agree. 'Insouciant' was the first word that sprang to mind. I think all three have the same connotations and I would prefer either of these to the other suggestions - because the others have predominantly negative connotations.
    – user49727
    Sep 8, 2013 at 10:29
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    Good points, although I don't necessarily see indifferent as predominantly negative (I suppose it depends on the situation – being "indifferent" to starving children would be negative, being "indifferent" about leaving your sandwich at home would not). Isn't it commonly asked: "How do you feel about that? Good, bad, or indifferent?" Seems I've heard that multiple times before. All the answers so far, though, show how hard it is to really give the O.P. what's being asked for: a noun that describes the person. Adjectives abound, but that single noun appears elusive.
    – J.R.
    Sep 8, 2013 at 10:32
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    +1 Insouciant is one of the few nouns listed amongst answers.
    – Jack Ryan
    Sep 8, 2013 at 20:52

In modern Internet parlance, such a person might be referred to as a "honey badger":

he honestly doesn't care.

This use of the term is based on this popular youtube video.

(Hat tip to user @balpha for bringing this oversight to my attention.)







That would be an apathist I think.


Carefree- having no worries

On the day of the result, Ajay, being optimistic, was very sure of securing all the A grades. But Arun's pessimistic mind was busy looking for excuses to tell his parents why he flunked this time. And Aakash remained as carefree as ever and kept playing video games throughout the day.


How about "this person is a stoic" ?

According to Merriam Webster:

Definition of STOIC ... 2 : one apparently or professedly indifferent to pleasure or pain

  • its actually indifference to the outcome, not the perception of the outcome
    – SoWhat
    Sep 8, 2013 at 13:53
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    Stoicism refers to someone who will bare discomfort without complaint not someone who cares not a jot about the outcome. Sep 8, 2013 at 16:45

How about the adjective related to the word:



Does such an adjective exist in English by the way ??

acedious, adj. http://public.oed.com/the-oed-today/recent-updates-to-the-oed/previous-updates/december-2011/new-words-list/

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    The great poet Dante Alighieri dedicated en entire section (18-th) of the hell to the people who were so :-) youtube.com/watch?v=3UknDVBt-Eg
    – Pam
    Sep 8, 2013 at 21:14

Technically one could say a realist. However this probably isn't applicable to your situation.


A person who cares not at all about anything "in any given situation", must surely be...a cadaver.

More seriously, there are also mugwumps, sloths, and bumps-on-a-log, all of which have some of the qualities you describe.

  • Good joke, but I'm casting my upvote for "bump on a log."
    – J.R.
    Sep 9, 2013 at 19:15

(1)Selfish A man who doesn't care about anything must clearly be the most self absorbed person on the earth. And if he is not self absorbed then refer to answer #2 (2)Dead

  • Well, this would apply on a different context. OP wants something in the middle of pessimism-optimism spectrum.
    – gelolopez
    Jun 23, 2015 at 21:51

Insouciant is a word in both the French and English language for a person who does not care about anything. In French it can be both an adjective & a noun. I don't see why one could not use it as a noun in English too. Such a person would be an insouciant. Such an noun is needed.


From MW - indifferent

1a : marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something : APATHETIC indifferent to suffering and poverty

b : marked by no special liking for or dislike of something indifferent about which task he was given

2 a : being neither good nor bad : MEDIOCRE does indifferent work

b : being neither right nor wrong

3 : being neither excessive nor inadequate : MODERATE hills of indifferent size

4 : marked by impartiality : UNBIASED

5 a : that does not matter one way or the other

b : of no importance or value one way or the other.


If you're looking for one who not only doesn't care about anything, but is in a general surly mood about things...there's "Misanthrope", and the adjective form, "Misanthropic".

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    Except that "misanthrope" is not a surly person or a person who doesn't care about anything. It is a person who hates mankind.
    – MetaEd
    Sep 9, 2013 at 20:14
  • True...I have seen it used without explicitly meaning a hatred towards mankind, but we should try to encourage the use of the proper definition anyway. A misanthrop might still be surly, but then again, they might cheerfully despise all of humanity just as well.
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 11, 2013 at 13:04

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