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Is there a term for a person who by local standards is normal in his/her behaviour?

I mean a person who tends to like the same sports, same teams, same music, and same hobbies. Because in El Salvador people are like that, and I call them (in my mind) very generic, trivial, and boring.

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    A 'typical' El Salvadorian? – Alo Nov 14 '14 at 15:16
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    A slang term with this meaning that usually has a negative connotation is basic – blgt Nov 14 '14 at 15:34
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    You can wait until you find this fellow to figure out what to call him. If you ever do, then you just ask his name because a person who is average in every single respect is pretty exceptional! – Oldcat Nov 14 '14 at 19:31
  • Come up with a generic name i.e. Bob, Joe, John, Pablo... – tox123 Nov 15 '14 at 23:03
  • 'Provincial' is a word that may have been used in the past. It has a geographical meaning. In America it would probably translate as 'small-town'. But I'm not sure if there's evidence for provincial people being any more conforming/boring than people who live in big cities. The idea does not seem to be as fashionable as it once was. – WS2 Nov 17 '14 at 0:13

11 Answers 11

5

conformist - a person who adopts the attitudes, behaviour, dress, etc of the group to which he belongs.

(Source)

16

I think average people come close to your definition: (from TFD)

  • Usual or ordinary in kind or character: a poll of average people;

Idiomatic expressions for:

average people: (AmE)

  • The terms average Joe, ordinary Joe, Joe Sixpack (for males) and ordinary, average, or plain Jane (for females), are used primarily in North America to refer to a completely average person, typically an average American.

average people (BrE)

  • Fred Bloggs or Joe Bloggs, Joe (or: Jane) Public, John Smith, the man in the street, the man on the Clapham omnibus, 'Tom, Dick and Harry'. In Wales: Dai Jones.

(from Wikipedia)

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    Just commenting that "the man on the Clapham omnibus" is specifically a legal term in English law, intended to have the meaning of a perfectly ordinary person, but I have never heard it used outside of a legal context. Also, as it's somewhat ambiguous, the "in Wales" section of that list attaches to "Dai Jones" rather than "Tom, Dick and Harry" -- Dai is a common forename and Jones a common surname in Wales. – Jules Nov 14 '14 at 20:06
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    It does read like you're saying "Tom, Dick and Harry" is used only in Wales, which is misleading. It's said all over the UK – Mari-Lou A Nov 15 '14 at 7:07
  • And in the USA. – Gitty Nov 18 '14 at 21:46
13

You're looking for

"the man in the street" - an ordinary person, average citizen, a hypothetical average man.

"it will be interesting to hear what the man in the street has to say about these latest tax cuts" http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/man

"Politicians rarely care what the man in the street thinks." http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/man+in+the+street

But you could also say

the average man/American/Frenchman/etc".

or

""an average Joe" - An ordinary person, especially a man

12

How about stereotypical? That connotes someone who acts exactly the way one would expect someone from his culture to act. Boring.

3

Some terms that refer to common people en masse include
hoi polloi, “The common people; the masses”
masses, with senses such as “People, especially a large number of people”, “The total population”, and “The lower classes or all but the elite”
plebs, “The common people, as a whole, or as a group”

As these terms refer to bunches of people rather than individuals, they don't quite address the question as asked. However, one can say an individual is “among the hoi polloi”, “from the masses”, “a pleb”, etc.

Edit: Chris Jester-Young comments that “in the same way that Ukraine should not have "the" preceding it, neither should hoi polloi”. I do not care to argue the issue, but will point out two reasons for not agreeing with the comment:

(1) According to Wikipedia's Name of Ukraine article.

Prior to Ukraine's [1991] independence from the USSR, the country was generally called The Ukraine in English, but this usage is on the wane and officially deprecated by the Ukrainian government and many English language media publications.

It is reasonable to avoid the before Ukraine, but the reason for doing so (political correctness) is rather different than avoiding it before hoi polloi (possible redundancy of article).

In short, the “in the same way” portion of the comment is wrong.

(2) It is true that some sources deprecate using the before hoi polloi, but OED says use of a definite article here is normal. Eg, from en.wiktionary Usage_notes:

As hoi represents a definite article in Ancient Greek, some authorities consider that the construction the hoi polloi is redundant and should not be used in English. The OED says "In English use normally preceded by the def. article even though hoi means ‘the’".

In short, whether to avoid the before hoi polloi is not an open-and-shut question, which casts doubt upon the last assertion in the comment.

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    These terms have a lower-class connotation, which is not indicated in the question. – 200_success Nov 14 '14 at 20:38
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    Also, in the same way that Ukraine should not have "the" preceding it, neither should hoi polloi. – Chris Jester-Young Nov 15 '14 at 18:54
  • @ChrisJester-Young, see edit – James Waldby - jwpat7 Nov 16 '14 at 0:21
2

To say that there is nothing remarkable about someone, with no condescending connotation, and no indication that he is part of a group, and avoiding slang, I would say regular guy, ordinary guy, or typical guy.

Average guy could work, but would not be my first choice, since average weakly implies some quantitative metric by which he is being measured.

1

You might say that a person is representative of the typical person in El Salvador.

For example "He is representative of the majority of people in this City".

From MW

Representative - typical of a particular group of people or of a particular thing


I also quite like 'clone' to describe a person who appears to have no individuality.

For example "He is a clone of everybody else around here". It is of course an informal and disparaging description, but it seems in keeping with the comments in your question and is a slightly different angle than the other answers.

From Collins

Clone - a person or thing bearing a very close resemblance to another person or thing

1

Other answers have alluded to it, but in the US the term for the common man randomly selected off the street is Mr John Q Public.

I think specifically what you are describing though is someone who is halfway between a John Q Public and (as another answer suggests) a conformist.

1

Normal:

(slang) A person who is normal, who fits into mainstream society, as opposed to those who live alternative lifestyles.

Wiktionary link

1

A British (maybe just English) pejorative term for conformist young people is 'townies', as used here:

That is, the one-sided fights between conformist, violent, sportswear-clad 'townies' and 'hippies'/'moshers'/'goths'/'indies' (otherwise competing tribes pushed into uneasy alliance by a shared and deeply relative nonconformism), fought out in corridors and precincts across the UK.

http://upclosemaspersonal.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/we-live-round-here-too-oh-really.html

It's definitely slang.

The definitions in urbandictionary aren't really to be trusted, they're more focussed on insulting 'townies' than describing them.

('Townies' can also mean people from the town as opposed to university students. the now-somewhat-archaic distinction is 'town' vs 'gown').

(There's also an American usage which just means 'residents of a town').

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    It's not a term for conformist people; it's a term that describes a group of people, in the same way "dark haired" or "large nosed" might... – Ben Nov 15 '14 at 6:41
  • It certainly does describe a group of people. But surely not any group of people. – A E Nov 15 '14 at 7:26
  • The American usage is almost exclusively restricted to the classic town vs. gown distinction, in my experience. – LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 15 '14 at 12:18
0

The "every man" or sometimes "any man".

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