A person who shows respect towards or fears those who are strong, aggressive, always ready to fight when pushed around or something unfair happens to them, but bullies the weak or those who dare not speak for themselves or fight back when treated unfairly or badly. What do we call this kind of people? Is there one word (adjective or noun) for that?

  • The only expressions that fit the bill to tee are vulgar ones.
    – tchrist
    Oct 29, 2014 at 2:42
  • 1
    A good phrase to describe the behaviour or strategy of a person like this in the workplace is kiss up, kick down. Mar 22, 2017 at 10:45
  • 1
    That's your classical bully.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 22, 2017 at 11:42

4 Answers 4


Pretty sure the best, non-vulgar word for a person like that is already found in your question:

  • bully

A few other words you could use that fit the bully aspect:

  • Oppressor
  • Tyrant
  • Despot

A few words that fit your first qualification for the word:

  • Craven
  • Coward (@John-Wimpey)
  • Chicken
  • Only your first word fits the situation at all. The others have real meanings that don't fit.
    – Oldcat
    Oct 29, 2014 at 23:17
  • And I wouldn't really say that a "bully" fears the strong by definition.
    – einpoklum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 8:55

There is a humorous word for this: dastard (not bastard but almost)

A malicious coward; a dishonorable sneak.



In politics you might call such a person a 'Chickenhawk'.


This person can be strong and weak at the same time - coward.

  • Calling someone a "coward" does not reflect him tending to bully the weak.
    – einpoklum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 8:55

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