Is there a word or expression for someone who uses a lot of opinions to judge himself and/or things around him (such as other people) (e.g. to "defend" himself from receiving judgement), however who is easily offended by someone else based on trivial things they say?

  • Pompous ass, perhaps? Commented May 28, 2014 at 16:52
  • 2
    Entrepreneur? Commented May 28, 2014 at 20:44
  • Colloquial expression: "You can dish it out, but you can't take it."
    – goldilocks
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 2:09
  • Related.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jun 7, 2014 at 20:30

8 Answers 8


I don't have a single word, but an informal American expression would be

someone who can dish it out but can’t take it - someone easily criticizes other people but does not like it when other people criticize him or her

To dish out originates with the sense of serving food to people, but has taken on an idiomatic meaning of meting out severe punishment or criticism. According to Etymonline, this sense of dish dates from 1934. Taking criticism, punishment, or abuse is from the sense of take as receiving or accepting, from which the idiom taking heat also derives.

While this quality is a characteristic of narcissists, in lay usage narcissism refers mainly to self-absorption or vanity, rather than being simultaneously hypercritical and thin-skinned.


Some people would just call the person sensitive (or in jest a sensitive Sally). A common term is thin-skinned.

easily upset or offended by what other people say about you

When the person gets all upset, they could be called huffy(-puffy). When a person goes beyond huffy and gets a bit angry then we can use irascible.

Having or showing a tendency to be easily angered

  • 1
    Someone who is sensitive, thin-skinned, huffy, or irascible isn't necessarily one who has strong opinions or whose criticism of others is unusual in either intensity or frequency. Indeed, sensitive can mean quite the opposite.
    – choster
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 18:42
  • @choster - your phrase is great, I was just giving single words. Everyone can be categorized as thin-skinned or irascible. The fact is they are comparative words. Meaning that I probably wouldn't call someone thin-skinned unless they differed from the group norm. Commented May 28, 2014 at 19:06

I think that you may be referring to a presumptuos person :

  • characterized by or showing presumption or readiness to presume; unwarrantedly or impertinently bold; forward.

who usually tends to be touchy:

  • Tending to take offense with slight cause; oversensitive.

Prig might be appropriate. A priggish person is one who is self-righteous and supercilious.

Further info: wiki link


I would describe such a person as pushy. Typically, people describe an overly opinionated person as pushy, but don't necessarily imply that the same person is easily offended by others' opinions. However, in my personal experience, overly opinionated, pushy, persons are easily offended by dissenting opinions. You are describing someone that always wants their way and throws a fit when they don't get it. That's pushy.


Try "testy", as in "The testy scholar had managed to offend all his professors."

  • A testy or tetchy person is not necessarily opinionated or judgmental, however.
    – choster
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 5:08

Pooterish though, in fact, would also perhaps imply an underlying good humoured nature, a capacity for self mockery and doleful lament at the ultimate futility of existance

  • Please could you provide some references to support these assertions.
    – 568ml
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 7:10
  • @568ml, see wikipedia ... a pooter is “a device used in the collection of insects, crustaceans or other small, fragile organisms, usually for scientific purposes”. Colin may have misread the article, or perhaps misadapted wiktionary's definition of Pooterism, “Taking oneself grotesquely seriously” Commented May 29, 2014 at 16:24
  • Hello, Colin Thomasson here, in rely to request for reference, Mr Pooter was the celebrated diarist created by the brothers George and Weedon Grossmith in their Victorian comic satire The Diary if a Nobody. George Grossmith was a leading performer in the original productions of several Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas
    – user77666
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 18:12

opinionated but sensitive is the best describe in my opinion.

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