What is the word to describe someone who does not care about other people socially and publicly, that is a word or phrase which could describe behaviors such as littering, cutting in a line, talking on a phone in a theater, or arbitrarily and capriciously changing lanes when driving.

I googled and found some options: selfish, thoughtless, and antisocial.

However, in my opinion (which may not be accurate) selfish and thoughtless are not necessarily "socially and publicly". Antisocial seems to describe more a mental state rather than a behavior, not to mention that it may be too strong because it also implies arbitrary and capricious killing, robbing, stealing, and other crimes.

  • 1
    Selfish (lacking consideration for others) and thoughtless (not showing consideration for the needs of other people) both describe one's behavior towards others. Self-absorbed is a bit less harsh. Does this alter your question? – anongoodnurse Jan 27 '15 at 5:17
  • 1
    Moreovet, I found civism on google. I think that, which may be wrong, it perfectly describes the situation. Nevertheless, I think it may be a big and rare word and probably may not be good to used in daily conversation and essays because I have never saw it in movies, dramas, or on TV. – Superuser Jan 27 '15 at 5:17
  • Thank you all very much for your reply! It is very helpful to me! – Superuser Jan 27 '15 at 15:23

12 Answers 12


Disregard can be used in certain phrases to imply being careless and indifferent to other people's feelings or social norms.

to pay no attention to; treat as unworthy of regard or notice (MW)


  • Alice's disregard for other people's feelings have forced her to live through life as a loner.
  • I'm worried that Bob's total disregard for social norms can later lead to a criminal mindset.

I have also seen the word oblivious being used to show intentional careless behavior towards other people.

lacking remembrance, memory, or mindful attention; lacking active conscious knowledge or awareness (MW)

What makes me angry is that you are completely oblivious to the feelings of those around you!

  • 1
    'Oblivious' means you missed the reactions or feelings of others, there's nothing necessarily intentional about it. Had you picked up on someone's reactions for example, you may well have cared about them. – Pete855217 Jan 27 '15 at 5:36
  • 1
    Yes, but as I said I have seen it be used to imply intentional behavior, and I think it makes sense because if you don't care much about something, you are more likely to MISS the reaction and feelings that come about it. In contrast, if you care much about something, you are more likely to pay attention and recognize how other people feel/react. Nonetheless, like you mentioned, oblivious does not have to (and usually doesn't) mean intentional carelessness – Abbas Javan Jafari Jan 27 '15 at 5:42
  • +1 for adding links/sourcing to a dictionary. Much better now! Because of link rot, I added the actual definition. – anongoodnurse Jan 27 '15 at 6:46

Dear SuperUser,

If I understand your question correctly, by the terms “socially and publically” you are describing an individual who is not only selfish and thoughtless (or, uncaring) when alone (that is, privately) but also a person who is willing to display those same inappropriate attitudes toward others socially and enact those behaviors publically.

Though you mention that you feel that the term “antisocial” describes a “mental state rather than behavior,” it is in the nature of things that the thought process precedes the behavioral enactment. What is important in differentiating the average citizen behaving badly from the antisocial citizen behaving badly is a prevalent pattern of such behavior.

What follows is a rough hierarchical list which proceeds progressively from the least troubling, least serious mental attitudes (which, remember, usually result in bad actions) to the most serious mental diagnoses and correspondingly bad actions.

1. Selfish adjective: (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure. (google.com)

2. Uncaring adjective: uncaring not displaying sympathy or concern for others. (google.com)

3. Moral turpitude: a legal concept in the United States and some other countries that refers to "conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals." This term appears in U.S. immigration law beginning in the 19th century. Moral Terpitude

4. Antisocial Personality Disorder: Antisocial personality disorder is a type of chronic mental condition in which a person's ways of thinking, perceiving situations and relating to others are dysfunctional—and destructive. People with antisocial personality disorder typically have no regard for right and wrong and often disregard the rights, wishes and feelings of others.

Those with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others either harshly or with callous indifference. They may often violate the law, landing in frequent trouble, yet they show no guilt or remorse. They may lie, behave violently or impulsively, and have problems with drug and alcohol use. These characteristics typically make people with antisocial personality disorder unable to fulfill responsibilities related to family, work or school. Antisocial Personality Disorder

5. Sociopath noun: a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience. Sociopathy

6. Psychopathy noun: (aka–-though sometimes distinguished from–-sociopathy) psychopathy is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior. Psychopathy

  • 1
    "psychopathy" is not an adjective. – user21820 Jan 27 '15 at 11:40


I believe this is the word you are looking for.

ap·a·thet·ic ˌapəˈTHedik/ adjective adjective: apathetic

showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
"apathetic slackers who don't vote"
synonyms:   uninterested, indifferent, unconcerned, unmoved, uninvolved, disinterested, unemotional, emotionless, dispassionate, lukewarm, unmotivated, halfhearted

How about Insensitive? would it help?

  • Please support your answer with sources. That makes your answer stronger, and more likely to be viewed as correct. Otherwise, even if it's correct, it's likely to be viewed as only opinion. The site tour and the help center will give you guidance on how to use this site. – anongoodnurse Jan 27 '15 at 6:54

As you want to emphasize rudeness and discourtesy in public and social environments, I would go for uncivil. It can be used of persons as well as of actions and behaviors.

3. Not civil or courteous, impolite; rough, rude, lacking in manners [OED]

The disrespectful actions that you listed are considered as uncivil behaviors or they can be an example of incivility. Below is a definition of incivility from Wikipedia:

Incivility is a general term for social behaviour lacking in civility or good manners, on a scale from rudeness or lack of respect for elders, to vandalism and hooliganism, through public drunkenness and threatening behaviour. The word "incivility" is derived from the Latin incivilis, meaning "not of a citizen".

The distinction between plain rudeness, and perceived incivility as threat, will depend on some notion of civility as structural to society; incivility as anything more ominous than bad manners is therefore dependent on appeal to notions like its antagonism to the complex concepts of civic virtue or civil society.


I have not seen the word boorish used in any of these answers, which is the term that seems to me to fit the individual concerned.


You've described two distinct concepts, so there's not really one applicable word. 'Not socially and publically care about other people' is a sentiment one feels themselves, whereas the examples you provided are all antisocial acts that one does. Not caring socially/publically about other people doesn't mean you do anything about it: you might just be 'independent', or 'insouciant' (don't care about situations others would find troubling). 'Antisocial' covers the acts you described (or as test wrote 'discourteous' etc. would be applicable too, depending on how severe the acts are).


Entitled is the word I would use.

That seems to cover both the boorish action and the public display display of disregard. It's perhaps not exact because you specify "doesn't care" where this means more "willfully feels above concern". One might be not able to care (antisocial) or be not interested (selfish), but entitled gets toward viewing "the public" as less valuable, therefore not worth concern.


apathetic could be an apt word. I think the word should be 'unemotional'. 'Inconsiderate', 'selfish' adds unnecessary additions to the meaning of what should just mean 'does not care'.

  • Please support your answer with sources. That makes your answer stronger, and more likely to be viewed as correct. Otherwise, even if it's correct, it's likely to be viewed as only opinion. The site tour and the help center will give you guidance on how to use this site. – anongoodnurse Jan 27 '15 at 6:59

How about rude uncivilized? Society lacks civility. Seems to think it has some special entitlement to be rude or discourteous.


Is "having no empathy" a way to describe someone who doesn't care about someone or something being hurt because they don't know them

  • 1
    Hi, Dawn fowler—welcome to English Language & Usage. I can't tell from your response whether you are asking a followup question about "having no empathy" (which would be off-topic at this site because answer boxes are generally reserved for answers, not for related questions) or whether you intend "having no empathy" as an answer to the poster's question but are a bit shy about putting it forward. If the latter, you can strengthen your answer by putting it in unmistakably declarative form and (if possible) by linking to a definition of empathy in a reference work that supports your view. – Sven Yargs Aug 1 '15 at 5:50

Inconsiderate or discourteous?

  • 2
    Hiand welcome to ELU. Please support your answer with definitions. That makes your answer stronger, and more likely to be viewed as correct. Otherwise, even if it's correct, it's likely to be viewed as only opinion. The site tour and the help center will give you guidance on how to use this site. – anongoodnurse Jan 27 '15 at 5:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.