I'm looking for a readily identifiable term so some reference to Falstaff or "The Pregnant Spoon" won't really work. So a broad term for the verb meaning the act of doing this or an adjective describing a person doing this or the situation in which this takes place would be aces.

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    I have no idea what you’re asking here. What exactly do you mean by ‘refusing to take the bad with the good’? There is no such thing—we have no choice in whether or not we encounter both good and bad. The only word I can think of that would embody a refusal to accept this would be suicide, but I doubt that’s what you’re looking for. Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 9:26
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    I'm not sure what the reference to Falstaff or 'The Pregnant Spoon' are. They detract from the question.
    – dwjohnston
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 9:38
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - You're being obtuse. Not every action has to have both positive and negative consequences. Sometimes a person might take an action which would be expected to have both good and bad consequences, but manage—through wit, strength of character, force of will, or another mechanism—to avoid the negative, leaving only the positive.
    – phenry
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 15:18
  • @phenry I'm not being obtuse in the slightest. To take the good with the bad means to accept that life has both positive and negative aspects, whether we like it or not, though naturally both need not be present in every action. A refusal to accept this makes no more sense to me than a refusal to accept that humans need oxygen to breathe, and there is no word for it that I can think of, just like there is no word for refusing to accept that we need oxygen to breathe. The asker will have to specify what exactly he's after for the question to make any sense to me. Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 15:25
  • That's an overly philosophical answer to a practical question. You might just as well argue that saying "I refuse to take no for an answer" is meaningless, because of course you have no control over whether the other person says "no" or not—therefore, how could you possible "refuse"? It misses the point entirely.
    – phenry
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 15:31

3 Answers 3


The closest term I can think of is opportunistic: (from TFD)

  • Taking immediate advantage, often unethically, of any circumstance of possible benefit.

To answer an idiom with an idiom, this would be someone who wants to have their cake and eat it too—they want to enjoy a benefit without suffering the attendant negative consequences. This expression is usually employed pejoratively, so if you're looking for something with a more positive connotation, you wouldn't want to use it (although maybe you could get creative with it).


You could describe them as a fair-weather [noun].

From Merriam-Webster

adj. loyal or helpful only during times of success and happiness

It's most commonly used as fair-weather friend is used.

Sue is a fair-weather friend, she's happy to come for to dinner parties and celebrations, but was no where to be found when I was moving house!

But you could use it with any other noun:

Bob is a real fair-weather manager, he's happy to take credit when the project is a success, but when it's in trouble, he's always claiming he's too busy on some other project to take responsibility.

Or use it colloquially as fair-weather sailor, meaning to apply the term generally, to any case.

He's a fair-weather sailor, happy to help when the money is flowing, too busy when times are tight.

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