In movies we see the protagonist character fight but sometimes our hero can't... he falls down every time... but never loses hope.. and tries to stand up again...

In one word what it's called?

  • In German, one would use the term "Stehaufmännchen", which actually is a toy that is called "Roly-poly" in English. It seems to have a similar connotation in Japanese (from the linked Wikipedia article: "The self-righting characteristic of the toy has come to symbolize the ability to have success, overcome adversity, and recover from misfortune."), but I don't know of any such use in the English language. Might be possible to build something out of it though ... – linac Nov 20 '13 at 14:54

12 Answers 12


Resilient able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions

At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself—yet also a belief in something larger than oneself.

Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs source


Perhaps you could use one of these words? I found them with a Google search of define determined, because "determined" was the first word that came to mind.

determined, resolute, purposeful, purposive, adamant, single-minded, unswerving, unwavering, undaunted, intent, insistent, steadfast, staunch, stalwart, persevering, persistent, indefatigable, tenacious, strong-minded, strong-willed, unshakable, steely, four-square, dedicated, committed, stubborn, dogged, obstinate, inflexible, intransigent, unyielding, immovable, rock-ribbed

I bolded the ones that I think fit this description particularly well.

  • +1 for stubborn - that's what the antagonist would call the hero – Izkata Nov 20 '13 at 14:06
  • +1 Resolute, clumsy, and indefatigable. Too bad OP requested a single word. ;-) – Brent Faust Nov 20 '13 at 16:42

bouncebackability, as coined by a soccer pundit.

  • 1
    That answer has no "upside" :) – Sam Nov 20 '13 at 13:46

Depending on the kind of point you are trying to make, you could call such a person indomitable to emphasize that nothing will bring them down.

You could use indefatigable to say that they never tire and always keep trying. The already mentioned relentless and persevering also emphasize the same aspect and would be more likely to be used here.

A term often used to describe such people is fighter, as in don't worry, she's a fighter, she'll never give up.

Finally, you could also use words like naive or (hopeless) romantic if you wanted to criticize this person for not knowing when to give up.


re·bound v. re·bound·ed, re·bound·ing, re·bounds
1. To spring or bounce back after hitting or colliding with something.
2. To recover, as from depression or disappointment.
3. To reecho; resound.
4. Basketball To retrieve and gain possession of the ball as it bounces off the backboard or rim after an unsuccessful shot.

  • to rebound
  • reboundability

A rebound as a noun is also an object or entity that you acquire as a means of rebounding, for example

  • acquiring a new hobby by rebounding from a depressing career failure
  • meeting a new intimate partner when rebounding from a relationship break-up.
  • getting an 'A' in Physics, rebounding from a previous fail in that subject.
  • This is a popular term for lovers who have broken up with their partners and are back in the singles scene to find love again. – Fuzzy Analysis Nov 20 '13 at 3:10

I think the best word is actually three words, but often hyphenated - 'never-say-die'. Such a person is said to have a never-say-die attitude.


How about "relentless" or "uncompromising"? But I would go with the first one. The definition of "relent" is the following: "to soften in feeling, temper, or determination; become more mild, compassionate, or forgiving." so relentless would be the opposite. For me it matches your description.

  • Relentless. (Uncompromising is something completely different.) – Brent Faust Nov 20 '13 at 16:36

Well, to those who catch the reference, there's:

  • But a scratch...
  • I've had worse!
  • Just a flesh wound


  • I'm invincible!

I realize it's not one word, but sometimes a short phrase will suffice.

(from Monty Python and the Holy Grail)


I don't think there is one word to describe the totality of the interaction you were describing; but if I were to try to apply one verb to describe just the imagery, I might use: stagger, falter, or just pause.

  • "to describe just the imagery, I might use: stagger, falter, or just pause" , or, stumble – mick Nov 20 '13 at 5:31

Not yet mentioned, how about "brave":

ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage

In news and media, boxers' performances are often described as brave when they get up from being knocked down.

In fact you could indeed use "courageous":

not deterred by danger or pain; brave


I think he is called adventuresome.


Perseverance n. def: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Also, this is not a copy of any answer posted because people have only used persevere so far, but I feel perseverance works better given the context of the question.

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