I'm looking for a term for someone who get kicks by being bossy, or getting people to do what they demand.
A martinet is “Anyone who lays stress on a rigid adherence to the details of discipline, or to forms and fixed methods or rules”. It happens to be “a term for someone who get kicks by being bossy, or getting people to do what they demand”. Also consider despot, “A ruler with absolute power; a tyrant”, and dictator, “A totalitarian leader of a country, nation, or government” or “A tyrannical boss, or authority figure”. Both words may be figuratively applied. Tyrant, “An absolute ruler who governs without restriction” or “An oppressive, cruel and harsh person” may be slightly less applicable.
My reservation with "martinet" is that the martinet might get kicks out of the conformance to rules and routines, not from being bossy. Obsessively enforcing discipline is not the same as being bossy.
A bossy person might be on a power trip. Apparently the American Heritage® Dictionary (and thousands of Google results) indicate that power tripper is a word, but by ngrams it is several orders of magnitude less common than the former.
My sister's coworker once referred to a colleague as Il Duce, but that's about two steps away from calling somebody Hitler.
Regarding the note in the comments below,
I would call her a sadist (somebody who gets pleasure from making others unhappy). Because of gender stereotypes, there are also a bunch of other 'bossy' words for women. Harridan came to mind, which means 'a strict, bossy, or belligerent old woman' and which Google also linked to the synonyms shrew, virago, harpy, termagant, vixen, nag, hag, crone, dragon, ogress; fishwife, hellcat, she-devil, fury, gorgon, martinet, tartar, spitfire; (informal) old bag, old bat, old trout, old cow, bitch, battleaxe, witch; (rare) scold, Xanthippe
Of these I think only battleax might fit the bill.
Bossy - adjective - fond of giving people orders; domineering
Synonyms: domineering, pushy, overbearing, imperious, officious, high-handed, authoritarian, dictatorial, controlling, tyrannical, despotic
I was looking for an appropriate word to describe a flight attendant who was overzealous about having a passenger turn off his computer. I mentioned that she seemed to derive pleasure from forcing him to turn off his computer when she asked.
In this context I would suggest that the flight attendant might be considered;
- mean-spirited Having a base, nasty, petty, or malevolent disposition.
- malicious spiteful and deliberately harmful
Or, that the attendant harassed the passenger needlessly.
A harassing flight attendant took pleasure in exerting her authority.
Taskmaster One who imposes tasks, especially burdensome or laborious ones and a person, discipline, etc., that enforces work, esp hard or continuous work.
From Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
A better proof of the severity of my bondage to that taskmaster could scarcely be afforded, than the degrading shifts to which I was constantly driven to find him employment.
By the same author; A Christmas Carol
pitiless taskmaster that he was, Ebenezer Scrooge only reluctantly let his ill-paid clerk have Christmas Day off
protected by MetaEd♦ Sep 17 '18 at 18:10
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