I have a co-worker at work who I have figured has given me the wrong advice or wrong impression more than once (like "oh its ok to come by this time" while I found out later it was not permitted by company policy).

What do you call such a person?

EDIT: Thanks to everyone for the answers. I was looking for someone doing this deliberately.In my opinion the word I would use would be a "deceiver" or a "misleader", as they convey the sense of deliberately giving a false impression or leading in the wrong direction.

  • 3
    May I charitably suggest calling them infrequently? :)
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 1:05
  • 2
    "Misleading" is common, "misleader" appears rare. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 5:46
  • @ElliottFrisch Your right. Misleader is not a word I hear often. Thanks!
    – umair
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 5:49

8 Answers 8


There are several possible answers;

If this behavior is intentional - they may be a "saboteur" (one who sabotages), they may be "deceitful" (deceiving or misleading others), "suborning" (inducing (someone) to commit an unlawful act) or "malicious" (intending or intended to do harm).

If it is unintentional - then they are "mistaken" (wrong in one's opinion or judgment), "incorrect" (not in accordance with fact; wrong) or possibly "out-of-date" (no longer useful or acceptable) or even "out of touch" (not keeping informed of the developments relating to someone or something).


If on purpose -

  • deceiver


  • Weasel

  • Snake-in-the-grass

if not on purpose

  • Unreliable


  • flake
  • The first three are all slang. Whilst the question didn't exclude slang from the answer, I would suggest that a good answer should make it clear if it is making informal/slang suggestions. I also disagree about double-crossing. I don't think that you're double-crossing someone if you give them bad advice, even if intentionally. Double-crossing implies that there was a "single-crossing" to begin with, like the person being given the advice thought that their colleague was deceiving management when in fact they were deceiving them. Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 11:35
  • 1
    Indeed, unreliable was the first word to come to my mind. Works for deliberate or unintentional both. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 5:49
  • @mplungjan your right. I've chosen deceiver to be the appropriate word. Unfortunately I cant get the accepted answer checkbox ticked as I already accepted another answer before this.
    – umair
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 5:50
  • Sure you can. Just click on another checkmark
    – mplungjan
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 6:38

It depends how strong you want to be- for example if you are calling them out, you might say they are a liar, but that is quite strong.

On the whole you would probably want to be careful about calling someone something, when perhaps what you intend to do is describe them.

So aside from "liar" you don't have many names you would call someone, but you might describe them instead "he is deceitful", "she is untrustworthy," "he is unreliable," "I would not count on her advice."

If you wanted to cushion it slightly in the situation you described you might say "he was a bit confused about when I should drop by" - this suggests that they didn't realise they gave you bad advice, but also implies that they don't really know how to do their job so it still has an edge to it.


your ill-wisher or your worst friend or competition! Well, Iago is the best answer.(That's Othello, Shakespeare and he does exactly that to his supposed best friend Othello)

  • This might not be too clear to someone who hasn't read or seen Othello! :)
    – Ronan
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 9:45

Bullshitter. Understand this of course is slang.


For purposes of discussing this with your boss, or HR, or others, I'd advise against calling the person a name, however objective it might be. At best it suggests that this is a personality clash and at worst it makes you look like the problem person.

I think you'd be much better advised to describe the behaviour, preferably in objective, diplomatic terms, and let others come to their own conclusions. I would go with "they've steered me wrong on several things" or "they've given me some odd advice". In the extreme: "I've learnt I can't always trust what they tell me." And then be very prepared to document some good examples.


If you would prefer a classic reference, in Ancient Greece this would be a cacodaemon, an evil spirit whispering bad advice in your ear.


Maladvisor makes the point. If only it were a real word.

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