My original question was "Is there a legitimate word for 'a balancer'?" but I think it's a little hard to understand...

Let's just say there is a person, and most of the time, he is in the minority. It can be very simple, such as: he simply hates a song everybody likes (and vice versa), or he has a very long list of 'underrated movies'. I guess he has a different (if not eccentric) taste comparing to most people..

On the other hand, he often does things that most people would refuse to do, too (whether he wants to or not). For example, most people wouldn't buy damaged goods, but he would. You can say he is sacrificing himself. To his mind, "If everybody wants perfection than who will care for the damaged?" or "There are certain people who would only accept the best, so there must be people who accept the worse, coexisting with the former."

This person does things that most people would never do, he stays in the minority so other people can be in the majority => some sort of "balancer"? You know, since he balances everything.. So, is there a word for people like him?

I know this is a long shot but please help me if you can, thank you!

  • The Russian words Menshevik (from minority) and Bolshevik (from majority) originally meant something similar - but they're not English and are never used in this way now :)
    – user24964
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 14:43
  • possible duplicate of What do you call a person who does/thinks the opposite of the crowd for just that reason? (Within which contrarian is the runaway top answer, but in many contexts eclectic would also be relevant.) Commented May 25, 2014 at 14:45
  • 4
    If it "just so happens" that your subject often doesn't adopt the majority position (as opposed to deliberately doing so), most likely he is eclectic. Or perhaps you're interested in the concept of "devil's advocate" (who adopts the non-standard position in order to allow an issue to be debated). Or maybe you're thinking of the (esp. British) habit of rooting for the underdog - which we do in sporting events, etc., because we want to see an evenly-matched game that goes right to the wire in the tense final minutes. Commented May 25, 2014 at 15:11
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers in this question of mine specifically, devil's advocate is closer to what I'm aiming at than contrarian. But fair enough :)
    – Henley
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 17:03
  • 2
    Can it be anti-populism? It is not only used in politics, it can be a philosophy also.
    – ermanen
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 18:20

5 Answers 5


This person could be called a contrarian.

A contrarian, according to Merriam-Webster, is "a person who takes a contrary position or attitude". The term non-conformist could also apply. For someone in politics who opposes the majority, the word oppositionist is used. One adjective that could be used for consistently opposing a majority is anti-establishment.

  • Not at all. Someone who is always in the majority can be just as much a contrarian. And someone who is always in the minority need not always take a contrary position -- s?he need always take a contrary position only wrt the majority.
    – Drew
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 15:11
  • 1
    @Drew Au contraire, a contrarian always disagrees with the established position. I should have used the OED definition: "A person who opposes or rejects popular opinion [emphasis mine]". (It's slightly ironic that I am using an established source to define contrarian.)
    – Ted Broda
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 15:21
  • I disagree. Shop around different dictionaries. A contrarian is someone who tends to take an opposing position. That's all. Someone can do that wrt any particular set of people (including wrt a majority on the issue in question, and including wrt each person and each position).
    – Drew
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 16:00
  • 1
    @Drew Touché...
    – Ted Broda
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 17:03

I would call such person a maverick.

maverick: a person who refuses to follow the customs or rules of a group

maverick: an unorthodox or independent-minded person

Alternately, consider oddball.

oddball: an eccentric or unconventional person


If I understand correctly your definition of the "balancer", as you call him, I think you may be referring to what is usually called the defender of lost causes, meaning someone who for some reason is always on the part of people, things and situations which are the least accepted or preferred by the majority.


The 'balancer' is engaged in what I would call a quixotic (or Canute-like) enterprise.


An outlier, perhaps.

noun someone who stands apart from others of his or her group, as by differing actions, beliefs, religious practices, etc.: an outlier among Muslims; an outlier among conservatives. Synonyms: outsider, nonconformist, maverick; original, eccentric, bohemian; dissident, dissenter, iconoclast, heretic.

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