Can anyone provide a word which describes a person who shows a lot of enthusiasm in the beginning but gets bored gradually and eventually leaves the task uncompleted?

I looked at jaded, but it doesn't fulfill the criteria. Jaded seems to describe more of an overworked fellow, whereas the word I'm looking for would describe the nature of person. The word I'm looking for would describe a person who always exhibits this behavior.

  • Why doesn't jaded fulfil your criteria? Feb 18 '14 at 10:55
  • @MattЭллен jaded is more like an overworked fellow. It doesn't describe the nature of person. I'm talking about a person who always does this.
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 18 '14 at 10:59
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    I call that "ADHD". But there must be a word for these "starters". Feb 18 '14 at 11:04
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    Actually you are incorrect about that. Having enthusiasm for starting things but failure to follow through is typical of ADHD. I understand your question, and think it's a good one. Feb 18 '14 at 11:11
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    Well, In my opinion, I woudl say that this describes ME, so the answer is me.
    – user66259
    Feb 18 '14 at 15:18

The term distractible can be used to describe someone who is

subject to distraction

Distract is defined as

to draw the attention of (a person) away from something

However, these terms speak more to attention, rather than enthusiasm.

While not an adjective, you might consider dilettante

a dabbler or a person who cultivates an interest without really committing or learning anything in depth.


On further thought, the term fickle may be useful

Characterized by erratic changeableness or instability, especially with regard to affections or attachments; capricious

  • but this word does not imply that person was enjoying the task in the beginning.
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 18 '14 at 13:50
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    Distractible doesn't, but dilettante does. Check out more definitions of dilettante at onelook.com.
    – bib
    Feb 18 '14 at 13:54
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    Yes right. I posted that comment while dilettante was not added to your answer. You edited it afterwards :) I wonder why is dilettante not a popular word? +1
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 18 '14 at 13:58
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    I like dilettante for this. Feb 18 '14 at 14:05
  • fickle is another good one! Feb 19 '14 at 2:32

A person who continuously and repeatedly expresses enthusiasm, confidence, and an almost excessive zeal at the start of any new task or adventure only to abandon it after a short time would appear to be hyperthymic

Hyperthymic people are those people who have so much energy, do so many things and get so much done they annoy others. Goel, Terman and Terman (2002) defined Hyperthymia as equivalent to Hypomania but without the impairment. So if you lose control it is hypomania and you get diagnosed with a mental illness (Bipolar.) But Hyperthymia by this definition means you are able to hold it together.

According to the limited number of experts in this field the following traits are also typical of a hyperthymic personlity:

  • increased energy and productivity
  • self-assurance, self-confidence
  • strong will
  • risk-taking/sensation seeking
  • love of attention
  • low threshold for boredom



I think you're talking about a person who likes to start new projects or quickly takes up new hobbies or fads, but quickly tires and moves on to the next thing - in other words, a person who seeks out novelty, is quickly bored by the familiar.

I can't quite think of a single word that describes them off the top of my head.

Some words that may help are:

Neophiliac - c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neophilia

Coolhunter - c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolhunting

Novelty seeker - c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novelty_seeking and http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Novelty-Seeking+Behavior

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    All of the suggested words suggest love of new things but they do not take into account the disinclination that follows.
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 18 '14 at 12:33
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    Everything new soon becomes not-new, so I think it's implied in all these terms. Feb 18 '14 at 14:03

I think your problem is that there's a category shift involved. You're trying to find a word to describe a person's quality, rather than describing their (habitual?) attitude to something.

I'd suggest modifiers of 'enthusiasm', eg 'His enthusiasm wanes', 'Her enthusiasm diminuendos', 'Their enthusiasm diminishes', or any of the synonyms of 'decrease' here.

  • Hi! meet my friend John. He's a nice guy but "His enthusiasm wanes." Doesn't it give an impression that John is sexually impotent? :)
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 18 '14 at 11:49
  • @SandeepDhamija I think it would depend on context and delivery. Feb 18 '14 at 11:53
  • I understand that. It's just that I found it funny and wanted to share. Thanks for your suggestions but I'm looking for an adjective.
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 18 '14 at 11:55
  • @SandeepDhamija :) It's a really interesting question. I still stand by my distinction, though. All Jeffrey's examples are nouns - neither 'vacillatory' nor 'blows hot one minute, cold the other' would do - they convey change, but not rate of change. I still think you can only describe the enthusiasm, not the person, for this very reason. Feb 18 '14 at 14:43
  • @SandeepDhamija there's nothing sexual about wanes, the moon wanes for heaven's sake!
    – terdon
    Feb 18 '14 at 16:45

A magpie-brain.

Magpies are renowned for their attraction to shiny objects. A magpie-brain is constantly distracted by shiny new ideas.


He's a thrillseeker with a lack of stick-to-it-iveness.

This may be accompanied by a sense of self-entitlement, a brain wired for constant entertainment, and a poor work ethic.

All this is of course not a single adjective. I am hopeful it will provide you with some ideas to find the word you seek.

  • I have heard the term "stick-to-it-iveness" used, although I'm not sure it's been generally accepted into the language :) Feb 19 '14 at 2:34
  • To me it's more precise than "perseverance" or "hard-working" or even "dedicated".
    – ErikE
    Feb 19 '14 at 2:52
  • I like it how your sensible, well thought answer is downvoted
    – NoEscape
    Feb 19 '14 at 7:55
  • You could upvote it!
    – ErikE
    Feb 19 '14 at 9:25

You want someone who is the opposite of determined, dogged and goal-oriented; a good fit for this would be flighty.

The word is a little old-fashioned though, you'd be more likely to find it in an Agatha Christie book than a newspaper..

  • Flighty would tend to mean inconsistent
    – virmaior
    Feb 19 '14 at 5:37
  • To me, this is a reaonable answer. I like your downvotes, though...
    – NoEscape
    Feb 19 '14 at 7:56

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