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I am looking for a word that defines a person who thinks that there is always a scope for improvement. Just like the term "perfectionist" that defines a person who always looks for perfection. Is there a term to define who always looks for improvement?

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    Perhaps a tinkerer. You don't mention whether this word should have positive or negative connotations. – Jim May 27 '15 at 7:18
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    A perfectabilitarian is such a person. A perfectionist may be a perfectabilitarian or not, depending on the source for their motivations. – John Lawler May 27 '15 at 15:42
  • I've never heard the word perfectabilitarian but I quite like it :-). Here is an example of usage if you need one. – Lucky May 28 '15 at 11:14
  • Idealist or utopian – Jimmy Jul 21 '15 at 20:34
  • I would call the person an optimist. – Hot Licks Jul 21 '15 at 22:07
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Meliorism - the belief that the world can be made better by human effort. An intermediate outlook between optimism and pessimism.

Optimism - a tendency to look on the more favorable side or to expect the most favorable outcome of events or conditions.

Dictionary.com

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I don't know why you're knocking perfectionist. A perfectionist is always looking for thing to be perfect. The way to make things perfect is to improve them. I'd say that thinking "there is always a scope for improvement" is the same as looking for perfection.

Anyway, if you're looking for an alternative (with negative connotations), such a man could be referred to as Mr. Glass Half-Empty. It is also used to mean a pessimist, though.

  • Do you think that perfectionists can sometimes reject efforts at improvement: turn their back on their work because they know it will never be perfect, or crush others' ideas for the same reason? – Margana May 27 '15 at 21:50
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    I think a perfectionist wants things to be perfect already. Although since things usually aren't, I guess he'd also think that they have room for improvement. – Barmar May 28 '15 at 5:02
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Perfectionist, to me, has the connotation that the person's desire for perfection is focused on their own work, perhaps even that it is limited to their own work. You wouldn't call someone a perfectionist because they could see room for improvement in their country's economy and their family's social dynamics and the state of the movie industry and their children's school and ...

What you would call such a person is an idealist, a person who thinks everything can be done better and is unsatisfied with the way things are now, who isn't content with pragmatic compromises.

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How about "augmentative". I like the play it has, both in sound and in meaning, with "argumentative."

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    It already has accepted senses. But not 'of the opinion that there is always room for improvement'. – Edwin Ashworth May 27 '15 at 21:57
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Overoptimistic free dictionary:

  1. excessively optimistic

Once you're down to the ideal case, that's the best there'll ever be.

Panglossian describes someone at the the endpoint of this overoptimistic worldview. Merriam-Webster:

marked by the view that all is for the best in this best of possible worlds : excessively optimistic

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As per the suggestion of the post the following words may have a chance. The words are arranged according to my preference:- ♦ exacting ♦ captious ♦fastidious ♦hyper critical ♦ nitpicky♦exceptive

"Carper " may as well have a chance in the light of John Bunyan's quotation : "Come, let my carper to his life now look,/ And find there darker lines than in my book."

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Sisyphean?

I know it describes an endless task, but uncertain whether it can be applied to a mentality. None of the terms are complimentary, and most are insulting.

In Psychology 'Constant Improvers' are one of the Myers Briggs Personality Types. (I love Myers Briggs) Have a read of it before you unleash your word on your overly fastidious friend :)

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