What is an English term for a small person who takes on a powerful task or job to feel bigger?

When I say "small", I'm not referring to physical size, but to pettiness and feelings of powerlessness.

  • A little Napoleon.
    – Dan Bron
    May 20, 2015 at 18:07
  • A little Hitler? May 20, 2015 at 18:23
  • Tyrion Lannister?
    – Tushar Raj
    May 20, 2015 at 18:43
  • 2
    Anybody great has started small and powerless; that's the motivator of ambition: getting power to be able to change things (for good, for bad). So , that small guy is "ambitious".
    – P. O.
    May 20, 2015 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


You might consider the term petty tyrant.

A petty tyrant is someone who abuses their generally small amount of power by wielding it capriciously or in a self-aggrandizing fashion.


  • 1
    And maybe a lilliputian tyrant.
    – bib
    May 20, 2015 at 19:50

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