I'm looking for a single word, for someone who...

  • keeps seeing everything that is wrong with everybody else.
  • never seems to see the good of other people, only the bad things.
  • points at others, as if he forgets he has weaknesses himself.
  • does not brag about himself, he just seems to be dissatisfied with everyone else.

I prefer a word that is as unambiguous and clear-cut as possible.

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    Faulfinding : disposed to find fault : captiously critical. (M-W). I think you are referring to too many things for just one word. – user66974 Jun 30 '15 at 8:58
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    @Josh - I was about to mention the same thing :^) Many dictionaries list the adjective fault-finding and the noun fault-finder. – J.R. Jun 30 '15 at 8:59
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    The word you are looking for is Dota player (or me). – Zikato Jun 30 '15 at 11:12
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    "Mother" springs to mind. Or "girlfriend" – Mawg says reinstate Monica Jun 30 '15 at 13:03
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    Two words? Negative Nancy, Debbie Downer, Pessimistic Patty? Stop being such a negative nancy – WernerCD Jun 30 '15 at 14:14

10 Answers 10


I just cannot resist mentioning the term nitpicker here.

a person given to harsh judgments and to finding faults

"a tiresome nitpicker who seems to think that I can't do anything right"

reference http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/nitpicker

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  • Captious.

1 : marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections


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  • Bingo! That fits the ask and is a totally new word on me, so bonus points for feeding my lexophilia. – Chris Subagio Jun 30 '15 at 18:20
  • Thanks! It pays off to subscribe to word a day email lists. And "captious" is easy to remember, as it sounds like "capture", as in GOTCHA. – Brian Hitchcock Jul 26 '15 at 21:02

Such a person could be called 'Judgemental'

Judgemental: Having or displaying an overly critical point of view

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If you don't like fault-finder, there's the verb carp:

carp (v.) to complain or find fault; nag pettily

The noun form is carper, but that's not a very common word.

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keeps seeing everything that is wrong with everybody else.

That person is overly critical: expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments.

never seems to see the good of other people, only the bad things.

That person is pessimistic: tending to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen.

points at others, as if he forgets he has weaknesses himself.

That person is hypocritical: behaving in a way that suggests one has higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case.

does not brag about himself, he just seems to be dissatisfied with everyone else.

That person is cantankerous: bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative.

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Failing to fight off the urge to say 'Journalist' I'll move swiftly on to a personal favorite: Jeremiah. It's a term that is falling out of use and I think that's a shame because it fits the needs of this question so well. Here's the entry from the OED (with a few of the examples):

...used allusively to denote a person given to lamentation or woeful complaining.

1905 Daily Chron. 1 Sept. 5/7 The Jeremiahs have been on the rampage; the dismal and the doleful would-be experts [etc.].

1928 Daily Express 23 Feb. 3/5 There are always Jeremiahs who go about saying that we have never had such bad times.

1963 Times 22 Apr. 8/5 Mr. Selwyn Lloyd..wanted to see Young Conservatives ‘rise up in protest against the Jeremiahs, defeatists, pessimists, denigrators’, [etc.].

Another unusual word that may be consideration is vituperator, from the verb vituperate - OED again:

To blame, speak ill of, find fault with, in strong or violent language; to assail with abuse; to rate or revile.

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As I haven't seen it mentioned: the classic proto-Germanic rooted 'nag' (noun). Fits the bill perfectly in my mind.

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Suitable word should be 'Cynical' according to your requirement.

You can also say 'Dissenting' , 'Antipathetic'.

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narcissist. Yes, I read the fourth requirement, but in my estimation, this still seems to be the best description that I can give.

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    Welcome to ELU, Mike. Perhaps you could point us to someone who can corroborate your estimate? – ScotM Jun 30 '15 at 20:37

If you're a Harry Potter fan, or your audience is, you can go with 'quibbler'

Quibble: n. petty or carping criticism;

v. to carp; cavil.

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  • I doubt that seeing the faults that others make is a "trivial matter". – Ismael Miguel Jun 30 '15 at 17:58
  • @IsmaelMiguel: The trivial matter is not seeing faults. Quibblers see faults about trivial matters. Use your head. – Tushar Raj Jun 30 '15 at 18:05
  • Basically: the faults aren't trivial matters, the faults are the trivial matter? And I assure you that I'm using my head. – Ismael Miguel Jun 30 '15 at 18:07
  • @IsmaelMiguel: If you're quibbling, you're finding faults in trivial matters. Doesn't mean what you're doing (quibbling) is trivial. Please see links for examples and better explanation. – Tushar Raj Jun 30 '15 at 18:09
  • The link explains less than expected. And I read it twice. And after reading your comment, I can see that the word doesn't seem to fit. I really can't see how finding faults in people relates to findind faults in trivial matters. – Ismael Miguel Jun 30 '15 at 18:16

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