I'm looking for a word that describes a character in an essay I'm writing. I need a word for someone who doesn't back down, something like "brave" but not quite, more like "courageous". This person is protective, and stands up for others no matter what. In one scene, a group of people are attacking a student, and this character stands up to them and gets them to back off. Even when everyone is against them they stands up for what is right, no matter the odds.


The character is a teenager, if that helps at all.


A teenager with principles, a person who defends the underdog, a person who's not afraid or ashamed to stand up for what's right.

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    stubborn? fearless? a white knight? protector? hero? there are many possible words. Maybe you need to add more context... – Marv Mills Jun 12 '15 at 15:55
  • self-giving ? Please more context! – Eilia Jun 12 '15 at 15:57
  • Persistent would be the word I would use. – Othya Jun 12 '15 at 16:08
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    "Spunky" isn't quite the same as courageous, but it fits a teenager well. – Hot Licks Jun 12 '15 at 16:37
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    Tom Petty? youtu.be/nvlTJrNJ5lA?t=11s – wloescher Jun 12 '15 at 20:03

It sounds to me like they're stalwart - combining both the meanings of "valiant" and "firm, steadfast and uncompromising" (reference). Often used in the phrases stalwart friend and stalwart supporter.

  • +1, that's what I eyed writing, and then "Robinhood" blurred my vision. – Misti Jun 12 '15 at 16:12
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    I often see this word in the context of defense, which fits the asker's specific needs perfectly. – talrnu Jun 12 '15 at 19:56


tending to keep a firm hold of something; clinging or adhering closely.
"a tenacious grip"
synonyms: firm, tight, fast, clinging; More
not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined.


Sounds like your character is resolute.

The word connotes both bravery and conviction.


Someone who, even when everyone is against them, continues to stand up for what is right, no matter the odds, sounds indomitable to me.

indomitable adjective: impossible to subdue or defeat. "a woman of indomitable spirit"; synonyms: invincible, unconquerable, unbeatable, unassailable, invulnerable, unshakable, unsinkable. see, Google


Courageous, as you mentioned fits well. Why not stick to it?

Google search:




not deterred by danger or pain; brave.

"her courageous human rights work"

brave, plucky, fearless, valiant, valorous, intrepid, heroic, lionhearted, bold, daring, daredevil, audacious, undaunted, unflinching, unshrinking, unafraid, dauntless, indomitable, doughty, mettlesome, venturesome, stouthearted, gallant;


I would describe such a person as astley. This describes a person who would never give up on or let down those they care for.

  • Yes, the adjective astley is in the OED - see here. – Dave Coffman Jun 12 '15 at 20:16

Authentic: Wise: Stoic: Empathic and not Psychopathic or Antisocial...

Please allow me to explain in a rather convoluted way - tis difficult to do it in any other manner.

The teenager's behaviour speaks volumes about his or her value system and a sense of stoicism embedded in the practice of engaging events in an authentic manner. The concept of living authentically is explained more fully on sites such as Psych Central and others I can provide if interested]. Stoicism encompasses a philosophical commitment to the use of logic, ethical behaviours and physics is thrown in there for good measure - again others explain it more eloquently than I can here, see Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.

Somewhat more superficially, specially for youngsters its about making the choice to remain true to their inner being by resting the pressure to 'play the game of keeping up with social mores and what other's think'. The person described above is an individual who has considered well from an objective yet most likely profoundly empathic stance; the intricacies and difficulties that one encounters during the course of a lifetime.

This, from my reading of the question, does not represent a psychopathic or antisocial individual whose ability to engage in such a manner with others is dominated by less than altruistic motive. My paper Monster or Clown: Bad or Crazy, speaks to this last comment as well as what is written in the next paragraph

A casual observer of an incident such as the scene where "this character stands up to them and gets them to back off" might, not 'get' the difference between the behaviours of a psychopathic individual [even if apparently assisting another in the face of danger etc] and the behaviours of the individual you have described - more specifically the driving motivation to engage in the event. Such observations can be misinterpreted often leading to incorrect and inappropriate judgements.

Neither the psychopath or the authentic individual will be particularly concerned by such external things as being judged or observed etc. However, the one who lives in a field of self awareness and quiet reflection and acute observation is more likely to consider the opinions of the other who is threatening... It is in this stance of empathic engagement with the attacker as well as the victim that facilitates a greater potential of having someone who has threatened 'back off'.

One does not get to this state of mind/body/soul connection in the ordinariness of growing up. There is no word really that encompasses the layers of character about which you speak, particularly when the individual is so young.

Some further comments to clarify my use of the words Stoic, Empathic & Wise: An individual who engages in the world from a profound sense of centredness will behave as such across environments and situations. There is nothing that will sway him/her from their well considered and objective opinion/stance

I might add here that such individuals can gain their wisdom from a deep and often painfully empathetic nature, whereby the ability to understand the suffering of other beings- often at a visceral level can be a driving factor in their stance.

However, - and again the stoic and authentic terms come to the fore. No matter what is thrown at such an individual by those who bully, intimidate and otherwise impose their often ill conceived values on others from a fear based or emotive stance; there will be no reaction! There will however be a strong, logical and even if in a spur of the moment encounter; an unwaveringly calm and collected response that cannot be argued with by any 'rational and caring individual', much less an angry and irrational mob.

I would consider such an individual as authentic, perhaps with wisdom beyond his/her years, which from my experience augers well for a meaningful life even if events are not always positive. Such individuals engage in the myriad experiences, good, bad or indifferent that they encounter with the same centredness and inner purpose that can not help but be noticed by those around them.

Boring if you happen to be the type to enjoy the bi polar like roller coaster lifestyle many of us fall into. Matter of perspective I guess...

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    Thanks Little Eva for both the welcome and link.. will check it out, did take the tour and also looked for info about how much is appropriate to write.. have noticed that there are some who write little and then some like me who do the detailed response. Am now mindful of that and am enjoying this arena which I only found tonight - go figure, years on the internet dong research and never come across this site or others associated with it...see you around indeed – drcrpsych Jun 13 '15 at 18:46
  • Nothing wrong with the length of your response, comprehensive/detailed answers are encouraged here. Then again, at other times short and succinct fits the bill. Context is everything. Look around at the answers that garner many positive votes, often (though not always) authored by high-rep users and emulate, i.e., information included, formatting style, etc. +1, drcrpsych. – user98990 Jun 13 '15 at 19:06

You may describe such a person as noble (in the character sense, not lineage):

: possessing, characterized by, or arising from superiority of mind or character or of ideals or morals

In the scene of standing up to insurmountable odds, you may say the person is unflinching:

: staying strong and determined even when things are difficult

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