I'm trying to find a word or a short phrase that target such person. Like someone who has no passion, no drive and only does whatever needed to survive.

  • Isn't this more related to subsistence or simple living?
    – ermanen
    Apr 22, 2014 at 22:58
  • Maybe I wasn't so clear on that. I meant in term of professional setting, not just in daily life.
    – Vi Nguyen
    Apr 22, 2014 at 23:00
  • 1
    almost every teenager........ Apr 22, 2014 at 23:38
  • 3
    Wise, effective and efficient. Apr 23, 2014 at 2:10
  • 1
    It might be a Canadianism, but the term "C-plussing" is used to refer to someone putting in just enough effort to not be embarrassingly bad. Apr 23, 2014 at 5:06

6 Answers 6



  • goldbrick: a person who shirks assigned work
  • shirker: a person who avoids work
  • clock-watcher: An employee who is overly strict or zealous about not working more than the required hours
  • sluggard: a person who is habitually indolent
  • goof-off: A person who is habitually lazy or does less than their fair share of work.
  • Really interesting. Thanks. I've never heard of any of them.
    – Vi Nguyen
    Apr 22, 2014 at 22:57
  • These words might be in the dictionary but they're very unnatural; I'm British and I've never heard any of them before. I've heard "goof off" used as a verb (i.e. "to goof off" = to be lazy, do less than expected) but never as a noun.
    – GMA
    Apr 23, 2014 at 6:17
  • Why only negatives?
    – jwenting
    Apr 23, 2014 at 7:17
  • @jwenting So you would prefer happy-go-lucky? March to the beat of a different drummer? Free spirit? Unshackled?
    – bib
    Apr 23, 2014 at 12:18
  • @bib just because someone isn't obsessed with working 20 hour days and feeling guilty about needing the other 4 hours for sleep doesn't mean he's lazy... Yet that's exactly what all examples you manage to come up with imply.
    – jwenting
    Apr 23, 2014 at 13:01

I would term that person a slacker.

Basically only one level more active than the mummified remains of Tutankhamun.

  • I like your comment about the slacker. That's so true.
    – Vi Nguyen
    Apr 22, 2014 at 22:58
  • @ViNguyen I hope I gave you a smile as well as a good word. Apr 22, 2014 at 23:05
  • You sure did. I see so many of them every day, which isn't a funny thing though.
    – Vi Nguyen
    Apr 23, 2014 at 3:48
  • "Slacker" is definitely the best word suggested here. It's slightly colloquial but it's the closest to what the OP describes.
    – GMA
    Apr 23, 2014 at 6:16
  • just great. precise and witty
    – vickyace
    Apr 23, 2014 at 12:31

I would say the word bum implies the highest level of laziest. We can go with the literal bum that you would find laying on the streets or the slang version most used for older kids laying around the house living off their parents.


Improvident - One who does not concern himself or herself of future needs.


A jobsworth does the minimum needed to get by, but it's more out of spite or a need to feel some small amount of power over others than laziness (though I imagine laziness is also a factor).

  • 2
    I don't think "jobsworth" is the right word here, a jobsworth isn't necessarily lazy, they can work very hard at their job - it's more about the fact that they follow every rule to the letter, care about procedure over results and love to exert power over their subordinates even if it's trivial. At least, that's how I'd use it (I'm British.)
    – GMA
    Apr 23, 2014 at 6:15
  • 1
    "it's more than my job's worth" - I won't bend the rules, not even a little bit.
    – penguat
    Apr 23, 2014 at 17:30
  • @GeorgeMillo: I'd agree that caring about procedure over results is more characteristic of a jobsworth than laziness, but the OP doesn't actually mention laziness as a criterion. From the point of view of someone (a customer, say) who needs someone to give 1% more effort/consideration than what is demanded by the rules, a jobsworth is someone who is fastidious about, and proud of, not going the extra mile -- IOW, of doing the minimum possible. Apr 29, 2014 at 14:51
  • What @penguat said. A jobsworth may actually insist on doing more than the customer wants. For example, you're in a hurry hiring a car and the guy insists you must come out with him to look over the vehicle and agree any existing dents and scratches. You're in such a hurry you say "I'll be late for a crucial business meeting. Just give me the keys now right now. I don't care if you end up billing me for a dent left by the previous hirer". Nevertheless, the jobsworth refuses to do this (and maybe you end up losing a valuable contract because of his punctiliousness). Jul 5, 2014 at 19:19
  • @FumbleFingers Yes. I believe 'jobsworth' was coined by Esther Rantzen when she did her consumer complaints programme. Was it called 'That's Life'? Every week they awarded a jewel-encrusted peaked cap to the person who had won the 'jobsworth of the week award'. A jobsworth typically refuses to cut corners and is more concerned about covering his or her posterior than in the interests of the customer.
    – WS2
    Jul 6, 2014 at 0:16

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.