What do you call a person who doesn't/can't usually keep his/her word ?

  • 1
    What about traitor?
    – Stan
    Mar 11, 2014 at 14:41
  • I'm not sure but I think you should check out "disloyal" or "not trustworthy"
    – PbxMan
    Mar 11, 2014 at 15:28
  • Actually I wanted to put more emphasis on "CAN NOT" portion of my question. A person who CAN NOT keep his word. Traitor sounds intentional and disloyal as well. "RENEGER" as mentioned in another post sounds quite close to what I want - maybe so
    – Tanvir
    Mar 11, 2014 at 16:08
  • A "politician".
    – d'alar'cop
    Mar 12, 2014 at 3:42
  • Related.
    – tchrist
    Jun 7, 2014 at 20:55

5 Answers 5


A liar if you want a simple term.

If it is someone who regularly makes promises and doesn't live up to them they are a renegger.

You may also see a moderately offensive (to some) term Indian Giver which is a reference to Native Americans. This term was very popular before the PC movement.

And if it is someone who doesn't pay their bets they are a welcher.

  • 1
    Liar implies deception when there may be none intended so I don't think that's a good fit, IMO. Indian giver isn't really appropriate either since it's not someone who backs out of a promise, it is someone who takes something back that they've given you (in its generally understood usage). Renegger and welcher are good, though! :-) Mar 11, 2014 at 15:08
  • 3
    I dare you to use the word renegger where I am from! Mar 11, 2014 at 15:10
  • @Ryebread That's a pronunciation issue!
    – David M
    Mar 11, 2014 at 15:15
  • I dare you to pronounce it right too. Mar 11, 2014 at 15:16
  • @KristinaLopez I would argue that not keeping your promises is a lie. It's not like you'd call this person a bald-faced liar, but you wouldn't call what they're doing truthful either. It's like a sin of omission, it's still a sin.
    – David M
    Mar 11, 2014 at 15:18

I would usually call them a Flake.

Per David M's Request:

Urban Dictionary

n. An unreliable person; someone who agrees to do something, but never follows through.
1. John called in sick to work again today. He's such a flake.
2. Mary said she would do the research for our project, but it's been a week and she hasn't done a thing. She's such a flake.


-5. slang chiefly ( US ) an eccentric, crazy, or unreliable person

  • That is a good one, too. But, can you provide a definition or reference just for completeness.
    – David M
    Mar 11, 2014 at 14:51

Such a person is 'untrustworthy'


A "welcher" is someone who backs out of a commitment. Since it's origin may refer to the Welsh people, this may be considered offensive.

Per Dictionary.com, from the verb "welsh" or "welch":

verb (used without object)

Informal: Sometimes Offensive.

  1. to cheat by failing to pay a gambling debt: You aren't going to welsh on me, are you?

  2. to go back on one's word: He welshed on his promise to help in the campaign.

Origin: 1855–60; perhaps special use of Welsh

  • Yeah, Welsh bashing has been a major issue of late! ;-P Actually, this might make a great question: what are some commonly used terms with racist origins.
    – David M
    Mar 11, 2014 at 15:22

A promise-breaker would probably have the clearest meaning of them all, but it's not the 'one word' you might be looking for. Reneger is a good alternative.


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