I am looking for a word or phrase for

  1. someone who has things done to them and
  2. someone who does things to people.

I.e. someone with no power and someone who has all the power.

Would be really great if you brainy people could help... to stop my brain from exploding!

  • 1
    sub and Dom? Depending on your context... – buildsucceeded Jul 18 '11 at 22:34
  • What does the title even mean? "who things are done to" doesn't make much sense to me. – Gigili Dec 12 '13 at 7:25

One of the more colourful variations on this theme comes to us from Yiddish. The hapless victim would be a schlemazel, and the careless inflictor of the damage would be a schlemiel.

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  • pity im writing about shylock and the antonio, merchant of venice and their reversal of fortunes then!!!hahahhahaha maybe I could include it, it would be as you say colourful!add a little cultural eloquence? – iminei Feb 22 '11 at 13:04

Off the top of my head...

Victim and Perpetrator

Puppet and Puppeteer (or puppet-master)

Pawn and Player

Serf and Lord

Are any of these on the right track for you?

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  • quite like the perpetrator..of penalty...woooo – iminei Feb 22 '11 at 14:05
  • ***@@@!! ok! now i know the return tab posts the comment D'oh!! would you know a word or short phrase for.... someone who is so sure of his wealth being there, ofbeing able to pay back a loan, never had to countenance not being able to...i want a good word for what a smug prig antonio is really???? – iminei Feb 22 '11 at 14:10
  • I have no idea who Antonio is, but you don't want to use 'smug prig' because...? – Ed Guiness Feb 22 '11 at 14:11
  • it wont endear me to the examiner who is looking for intelligent input on the merchant of venice, antonio being the merchant in question. – iminei Feb 22 '11 at 14:20

In grammar or literary criticism, the first is object, the second is subject. In syntax, the first is a patient, while the second is agent. Unfortunately, most of these words have other meanings and may be misunderstood out of context.

If you wish to combine them, agent / object are likely to be understood in the correct way by most people.

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  • +1 for Agent/Patient. Correctly captures the definitions in the question without giving them negative connotations. – Nico Burns Jan 2 '13 at 1:23

This is first too vague and then too confused.

That said, I guess "victim" or "powerless victim" seems to be the (a).

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  • yes, good point. i am known for my waffling...anything to get the word count up!!! – iminei Feb 22 '11 at 13:06

How about "subject" and "sovereign"?

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  • no, not appropriate, thanks though – iminei Feb 22 '11 at 13:06

Of course, in Yiddish style, the difference between schlemiel and schlemazel is best told in joke form:

Q: What's the difference between a schlemiel and a schlemazel?
A: A schlemiel is the guy who always spills the soup. A schlemazel is the guy he spills it on.

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  • hahahahaha. wonder if i can work that in...hang on this essay is getting too like a marx brothers sketch!!hahaha – iminei Feb 22 '11 at 16:47
  • is upvote begging allowed? – rbp Mar 23 '11 at 21:03

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