A person (e.g. your brother-in-law) who enters your house without being invited, opens your fridge without asking, etc. Not just "impolite" of course, something more specific and informal

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    – WS2
    May 21, 2014 at 7:47
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    'House' - The character in House MD TV show. You are describing him .
    – Keneni
    May 21, 2014 at 16:25
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    ^ +1 for a reference to the greatest medical drama ever :').
    – Lou
    May 21, 2014 at 18:00
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    Lock your door.
    – Oldcat
    May 21, 2014 at 23:30
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    @MooingDuck - was that guy's name Cosmo Kramer by any chance?
    – Vector
    May 22, 2014 at 4:18

13 Answers 13


overfamiliar [Farlex] - taking undue liberties


b. Unduly forward or brash; offensively presumptuous: She displayed an overfamiliar attitude toward her superiors. [AHDEL]

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    While technically accurate, in my opinion this word comes across as much more formal than presumptuous. While sounding great in writing, I wouldn't tell someone that they're "being overfamiliar"; I would say that they're "being presumptuous." I've never heard this word used verbally in place of presumptuous. Granted, the OP didn't specify how or where the term would be used.
    – user77216
    May 24, 2014 at 18:48

In the given example, I would find both the behaviour, and the person committing it, to be presumptuous:

(Of a person or their behaviour) failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate

However, this could sound somewhat reserved, and definitely doesn't have any bite. As the question is a request for something specific and informal, my reflexive response to somebody taking it upon themselves to start rifling through my fridge would be that they're taking the piss:

to take liberties at the expense of others, or to be unreasonable.

There is a nice question regarding this idiom on English.StackExchange, with user @Orbling providing a splendid explanation of phrase's meaning in the context we're dealing with here.

This is a British (and I think Australian) idiom, so I don't know if Americans and other English speakers would understand the meaning. It is vulgar, so if it's your priest or solicitor who is scoffing your Dairylea Triangles, you might not want to resort to this; however it's not overly rude, and could certainly be used amongst friends, family and even colleagues with whom you have a good relationship.

Having said that, somebody who marches into your house and begins helping themselves to your food really is taking the piss, so I personally wouldn't be too worried about offending such a misanthropic slob.

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    I don't know if this varies widely, but I live in the south of England and "taking the piss" is closer in meaning to mocking or making fun of. At the harsh end it can be a form of bullying, and at the light end it's mere teasing. I've never heard the phrase being used in the context you described.
    – Lou
    May 21, 2014 at 14:08
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    @LeoKing I grew up and still live in London, and here 'taking the piss' can either have the definition you've given, or the one alluded to in my answer: taking advantage of hospitality, exploiting generosity, or otherwise not contributing your fair share. I'd be interested to know whether this second definition exists elsewhere in the UK and other territories where 'take the piss' is a recognised expression!
    – 568ml
    May 21, 2014 at 14:59
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    @LeoKing That usage is more common, but there's also the (related) one that 586ml refers to: something or someone that is so unreasonable it's almost a joke. "My postman used to wake me up at 8 a.m., then he started coming at 6 - now it's half four! It's just taking the piss, really, isn't it?" May 21, 2014 at 15:23
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    @starsplusplus I think you're at the crux of this 'second' definition: it's a behaviour so far in excess of what's acceptable that it implies a disregard and disrespect akin to ridicule.
    – 568ml
    May 21, 2014 at 15:31
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    "Taking the piss" wouldn't be widely understood in the US. May 24, 2014 at 15:23

In British English I'd say:

  • He's got a (lot of) nerve, helping himself like that.

A lot of nerve

  1. Fig. great rudeness; a lot of audacity or brashness. (*Typically: have ~; take ~.)

He walked out on her, and that took a lot of nerve!

You have a lot of nerve! You took my parking place!

What (a) nerve! and Of all the nerve!

Inf. How rude!
- Bob: Lady, get the devil out of my way! Mary: What a nerve!
- Jane: You can't have that one! I saw it first! Sue: Of all the nerve! I can too have it!


Impertinent boldness: had the cheek to insult his hosts
(U.S. informal) I'm amazed they have the cheek to ask in the first place

  • He's got a cheek coming to my home without being invited.

Other informal synonyms are:

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    +1 for Cheek. Though I think it's always better to say "cheeky".
    – user39425
    May 21, 2014 at 17:39
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    I've never heard a cheek (with this meaning of cheek). I'd just say, "He's got cheek...". the cheek or cheek, never a cheek
    – Tim S.
    May 22, 2014 at 17:16
  • "a lot of nerve" is common in American English, too.
    – Tim S.
    May 22, 2014 at 17:35
  • I've heard "cheeky bastard" in American English, but not "cheek" alone
    – Izkata
    May 22, 2014 at 18:08
  • First example of "a lot of nerve" is a different meaning than "rudeness", more "bravery".
    – James
    May 23, 2014 at 1:45

His behaviour can also be described as intrusive.

  • Behaviour, while a perfectly fine spelling, is the British version of the American, also perfectly fine, behavior.
    – GMB
    May 23, 2014 at 1:26
  • You might rather want to say 'behavior' is an American version of the Brisish English word, not the other way around. English comes from Britain, of course. Not to mention this is entirely off-topic ;)
    – paddotk
    May 23, 2014 at 18:46

Ill-mannered or impudent can be used to describe this attitude.

Behaving boldly, with contempt or disregard for propriety in behavior toward others; unblushingly forward; impertinent; saucy.


That's :-

  1. feeling entitled


  1. taking liberties

Impolite, boorish, disrespectful, rude, discourteous, etc...


Now, that's just disrespectful!

Or, just plain inconsiderate!


Also arrogant / arrogance and high-handed / high-handedness.

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    Arrogant sounds a bit too harsh to express this idea
    – senseiwu
    May 21, 2014 at 11:55

Your brother-in-law is inurbane.

Inurbanity: Lack of urbanity or courtesy; unpolished manners or deportment; inurbaneness; rudeness. --Bp. Hall. [1913 Webster]


Excessively laid back.

I'd also use 'nerve' and 'cheek' as already suggested by Mari-Lou-A


Rude can work, IMO. Nervy might be even better:

brashly presumptuous or insolent.


Discourteous seems appropriate.

rude or impolite : not showing good manners

showing rudeness and a lack of consideration for other people.

You could also consider insolent, though that may be harsher than necessary in my opinion.

boldly rude or disrespectful; contemptuously impertinent; insulting

Rude, ill-mannered, or just plain impolite should also suffice.

In Chinese culture, we normally describe people exhibiting this behavior as 没家教, which roughly translates to poor family upbringing, and reflects badly on the individual's parents.

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