I'm looking for an offensive single-noun term for "indecisive person," preferably short and cutting. Something along the lines of "nitwit" for "foolish person"; but now instead of "foolish," try "indecisive." No adjective synonyms, please.

  • 4
    In British English, "ditherer". I think it has a different meaning in the US - I'm not certain. Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 20:10
  • Related.
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 0:05
  • This line of questioning is unseemly. I hope you don't think we are the supermarket of insults.
    – Robusto
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 0:32
  • "Ditherer" was the first word that came to mind for me (in the US). (But "waffler" is probably a hair more idiomatic.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 12:23

5 Answers 5


Depending on context, you could use "a fence-sitter"

  • fence-sitting - "a state of indecision or neutrality with respect to conflicting positions"

or "vacillating" (one who vacillates)

  • vacillate - implies prolonged hesitation from inability to reach a firm decision. He vacillated until events were out of control.

or "a shilly–shally person"

  • i think fence-sitter is short and sweet and even a Chinese can relate. In Chinese we call wall-sitter the kind of People who sit on the fence/wall, watching, and be prepared to lean to the winning side when a trend becomes visible. same? Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 5:53

In the US, if you called the person a "waffler", you'd probably be understood.

  • I think you'd almost certainly be understood, at least by me and the two people nearest me (in the US, for what it's worth).
    – Vectornaut
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 21:52
  • 1
    In (at least some of) the UK you'd be misunderstood. To waffle is to talk at length with little clarity or purpose.
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 6:08

A ditherer. This has been suggested in the comments, and is the right word.


The term wuss is somewhat broader

A weak or ineffectual person (often used as a general term of abuse).

Oxford Dictionaries Online

But it is often used to describe somewhat who is fearful to commit or take action.

  • Perhaps "flake" or "ditz" would work too. Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 1:55

Procrastinator is a term that springs to mind. Useful to describe a person that is too busy concerning themselves with the pros and cons of a solution than actually implementing it

  • Welcome to the site @Andrew! You can improve your answer with a link to an online dictionary and a dictionary definition. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 12:31

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