He was born and brought up in this village, but after staying and studying abroad his childhood friends seem backwards to him; he _ this place now.


He had lived in this city all his life but whenever he gets a chance he starts counting the flaws. He thanklessly _ his homeland.

It might even apply to a situation like say you party every weekend but if somebody else does the same you criticize them.

Note: Read title: act of crticizing one's own homeland/city/country

I can use words like criticize, betray or badmouth in my sentences, but I am looking for more like an idiom or phrase or even a proverb, that may or may not fit into my sentences but explains the intent.

The intent here is being a hypocrite to an extent, yes but there's an addition of viewing one's own homeland or people as backwards(where I don't think that person has changed, they are just trying to show off).

In hindi there's a saying "jis thali me khaya usme ched kiya" which means destroying the plate in which you are served. I'm kinda looking for an english analog for this proverb. I thought "don't shit where you eat" would be the close but it was hilarious to find out it's meaning and of course that it's nowhere close.

  • 10
    Your headline question seems to call for a noun but your two examples with blanks seem to require verbs to fill them (perhaps forms of despise?); and the example with which you close seems unlike the former two. Note also that a person who criticizes his or her country constructively may be the best sort of patriot. Please clarify. Jul 14, 2014 at 18:03
  • 2
    disavows? betrays? rejects? self-hating?
    – Mitch
    Jul 14, 2014 at 19:39
  • 3
    Sometimes what once passed for home really is a dump. "Truly sees" might fit nicely into your first sentence. Jul 14, 2014 at 23:14
  • 7
    A person who criticizes his own homeland/city/country? - I'd suggest patriot.
    – Davor
    Jul 15, 2014 at 12:18
  • 3
    To extend @Davor's comment, a chauvinist blindly praises his own country, and won't criticize it even when it's plainly in the wrong; a patriot will criticize his own country if he sees it doing wrong. Example: the Dixie Chicks were patriots in criticizing W for attacking Iraq; most country music stars are blind chauvinists.
    – Phil Perry
    Jul 15, 2014 at 14:14

12 Answers 12


You could call people like that "turncoats" or "renegades." You could describe them as "dissident."

No single verb I know quite captures what you've described, but try "abandon," "desert," "betray," "defect," or "dissent."

Words that fit into the blanks in your sentences are "resents," "scorns," "rejects," and "disdains."

When someone is different from their origins, especially when a child is different from his or her parents, people say, "The apple has fallen far from the tree." There are lots of variations on the phrase "too good for," and in this context someone might contemptuously say, "They think they're too good for us now." When people mock others for qualities they themselves exhibit, like the partier who looks down on other partiers for partying, you might say, "Look at the pot calling the kettle black."

  • 2
    +1 for creative thinking. Your last sentence is a plus.
    – vickyace
    Jul 15, 2014 at 3:50
  • @qaz Yesss...I really liked turncoat and few other words, but your last sentence is it..amazing! Thank you so much :)
    – Rashmi
    Jul 15, 2014 at 4:03
  • 1
    As someone who fits the bill 100%, "resent" is the exact feeling I have toward the absolutely terrible place, filled with absolutely terrible people, in which I was raised.
    – corsiKa
    Jul 15, 2014 at 16:35

Words for this are often strongly loaded; traitor / treason / betray is probably the commonest term in English, and also refers to a serious (often capital) crime. Sedition is the crime of speaking, rather than acting, against one's country, but this is normally only used to refer to the actual crime.

Somewhat more neutrally, you can say that someone renounces, disavows, repudiates or resiles from a national allegiance-- they once held (or were presumed to hold) such loyalty, but now deny it. Such a person may be called an apostate, or described as apostate (they commit apostasy); this has quite a formal tone. Colloquially, they turn their back on their country, forget their roots or put on airs.

From another viewpoint, national or regional loyalty is artificial, and its absence is a person's default state. From this viewpoint you might call someone with no such loyalty disinterested, impartial, or cosmopolitan, but this does not seem to be the sense the question is looking for.

Since national identity is inherently political, there are many examples of specialised epithets from particular times and places-- "pinko", "counter-revolutionary", "un-American", "fifth columnist", "bourgeois" etc.

  • +1 renunciation is exactly the word here. While the various others will work, if you want a specific verb that is specifically, and definitionally associated with the context being asked for in the question, that's it. Jul 15, 2014 at 8:10

The blank in your examples can be filled with a range of words from "criticized" to "betrayed" - all with a certain degree of severity of the person's actions.

What I think might fit best here since we don't know of a motivation other than peevishness or disillusionment is "bad mouth" - which has a connotation of some degree of betrayal or of being a hypocrite.

"He had lived in this city all his life but whenever he gets a chance he starts counting the flaws. He thanklessly bad mouths his homeland"

From the Google dictionary:

"Bad mouth" "verb"

criticize (someone or something); speak disloyally of.

example: "no one wants to hire an individual who bad-mouths a prior employer"


From OED...

fifth columnist noun freq. loosely, a traitor, a spy.
From fifth column...
Orig. the column of supporters which General Mola declared himself to have in Madrid, when he was besieging it in the Spanish Civil War, in addition to the four columns of his army outside the city (see 1936 quots.); hence, allusively, a body of one's supporters in an attacked or occupied foreign country, or the enemy's supporters in one's own country.

In a similar vein, I'd also consider...

quisling, of which Wikipedia says:
a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force. The word originates from the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling who was the head of a collaborationist regime in Norway during the Second World War.

I doubt there's a specific (transitive) verb meaning to unpatrioticly rubbish one's own country. In the vernacular, there are sayings like Don’t shit on your own doorstep, and Don't bite the hand that feeds you, but they're by way of "criticism/advice" maxims, rather than neutrally descriptive verbs.

  • 1
    I like "don't shit at your doorstep" though not exact.
    – Rashmi
    Jul 15, 2014 at 2:55
  • As an aside, "bite the hand that feeds you" is often used apart from a criticism/advice format, i.e. indicative rather than imperative: google.com/…
    – LarsH
    Jul 17, 2014 at 10:19

In your first sentence I'd fill the blank with looks down on to convey the idea that after living and studying aboard he feel somehow superior to his old friend and his old native place.

Look down on :

  • show a feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless; scorn.

In the second sentence I'd fill the black with disrespects to convey the idea that he shows no consideration for the place where he lives.


  • To show lack of respect or esteem.

If the person left his home country for another, you could say that individual defected. Depending on which dictionary you read, some definitions of defect imply that the individual is leaving their home country for an enemy country. Some definitions leave that part out. For example:

intr.v. (d-fkt) de·fect·ed, de·fect·ing, de·fects

  1. To disown allegiance to one's country and take up residence in another: a Soviet citizen who defected to Israel.

  2. To abandon a position or association, often to join an opposing group: defected from the party over the issue of free trade.


From the sentences you suggest, the actual emotion and actions could cover a huge range.

Your first sentence is: "He was born and brought up in this village, but after staying and studying abroad his childhood friends seem backwards to him; he _ this place now." May I suggest a range of words to fill the blank?

  • is embarrassed by
  • he unwaveringly defends the innocence of
  • is thankful for the simple peace of
  • dispises the closeminded simpletons of
  • misses the blessed simplicity

I am amazed at how many answers speak to the "unpatriotic" or "biting the hand that feeds you" assumption. If one is from a place and then finds faults, that one must be a traitor to the place. Equally, one can be the protector of a place, an investor in the future of a place, and even a new outsider with loving connections who seeks better outcomes for his loved ones from home.


You would call someone that who does something but says another a hypocrite. (this would apply to the last situation, about the party)

Official definition:

A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs

Noun: hypocrite Adjective: hypocritical Adv: hypocritically

There is no verb form of this but you can say: to be hypocritical or he talked of his hometown hypocritically

For the fill in the blanks:

He had lived in this city all his life but whenever he gets a chance he starts counting the flaws. He thanklessly talked hypocritically of his homeland. (its a bit awkward in the sentences you made)

  • Yes this is what I am looking for.. a hypocrite. But I am looking for a verb with a similar meaning. I think there should be an idiom or phrase for that
    – Rashmi
    Jul 14, 2014 at 23:39
  • @Rashmi Unfortunately I know no verb like this. However you can say that the person is being hypocritical or you can use an adverb. For example: the man talked hypocritically of his homeland. Jul 15, 2014 at 2:02
  • hypocrisy is really close.. there has to be something else too. It's almost like I've something at the tip of my tongue but I'm not able to say it
    – Rashmi
    Jul 15, 2014 at 2:48

In hindi there's a saying "jis thali me khaya usme ched kiya" which means destroying the plate in which you are served.

Don't spit in the soup. We all gotta eat.

  • Hey is there anything like "spitting in your own soup"?
    – Rashmi
    Jul 15, 2014 at 2:55
  • Cut off your nose to spite your face. -- Not the same thing, but similar.
    – Drew
    Jul 15, 2014 at 13:40

I'm not sure if it's exactly the same meaning as in your language, but I have an impression that you mean something that is covered by the Polish saying

Zły to ptak, co własne gniazdo kala

It's about the bird, that contaminate it's own nest. I've found something similar in English:

It's an ill bird that fouls it's own nest

And the idiom is to foul one's nest.

There's an implication, that your homeland is always your nest, even if you think you've burnt all the bridges. I think it's the same as in the Hindi saying you've quoted.

  • Yes.. It is as close to my hindi saying as possible. Thnx!! :)
    – Rashmi
    Jul 15, 2014 at 18:10

He was born and brought up in this village, but after staying and studying abroad his childhood friends seem backwards to him; he reviles this place now.


He had lived in this city all his life but whenever he gets a chance he starts counting the flaws. He thanklessly traduces his homeland.


If you were talking about countries specifically, or maybe regions within a country (say Catalonia within Spain) then you could say unpatriotic.

"Jean Paul moved to the United States and became unpatriotic to his birth country of France".

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