I'm trying to find the right word to describe someone who wants to voice their opinion about subjects (especially controversial ones or ones where the speaker is going against easily-provided facts) but who doesn't want those opinions challenged directly and gets angry if they are.

I'm looking for words with a negative connotation. I'm aware of the word "obstinate", but it doesn't really feel like it does the concept justice, perhaps because it can also be used to mean "not easily controlled" and can be interpreted as a positive. Also, obstinate seems to mean that someone won't change their mind in response to an argument and leaves out that the person explicitly forbids an argument from being presented in the first place. It also leaves out that the person not only won't change their mind about a subject but also wants to make sure others know what their opinion is.

Either a word or a phrase is fine. I'm just having difficulty finding the right words that fully capture the idea.


I don't feel like the question at Word for someone that always has to be right quite captures what I'm getting at here, though some of those answers might apply.

The need to be right isn't so much the important part as much as the unwillingness to discuss at all. The type of person I want a phrase to describe is the one who says, "Here is my opinion. I'm not looking for a debate." This type of person doesn't just say this about one issue, but about all issues, especially ones that are likely to entice others to discussion and debate.

It helps if the word or phrase describes someone who holds opinions that fly in the face of facts, but it's not strictly necessary. The cutting discussion off at the pass is more important than the ignorance.


10 Answers 10


Perhaps dogmatic?

Merriam-Webster: "expressing personal opinions or beliefs as if they are certainly correct and cannot be doubted"

or, upon looking for synonyms for dogmatic, there's doctrinaire:

dictionary.com: "dogmatic about others' acceptance of one's ideas; fanatical: a doctrinaire preacher"

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    I didn't think there was a single word that fit this request until I read this response. The person the original question put in my head matches up very well with person the word "dogmatic" brings to mind. – AlannaRose Aug 27 '15 at 2:07
  • I'm accepting this one unless someone else comes up with a perfect fit. I think even this word is still not exactly what I'm getting at, but this with a modifier might get the job done. – Joel Aug 28 '15 at 1:09
  • A dogmatic person does not necessary want to voice their opinions. – einpoklum Nov 2 '19 at 22:11

I think self-rightous may fit:

  • confident of one's own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.
  • Self-righteous to me carries a connotation of being judgmental of others, and the behavior I want to describe isn't really judgmental. It's more of an unwillingness to back up an opinion with supporting arguments but still wanting to express those opinions. – Joel Aug 28 '15 at 1:13

My suggestion is a verb, but I think pontificate is a word that describes what this person does.

Per Wordnik, there are these definitions:

To act like a pontiff; to express one’s position or opinions dogmatically and pompously as if they were absolutely correct.

To speak in a patronizing, supercilious or pompous manner, especially at length.

Pontificate has the connotation that the person has spoken, and he or she will brook no argument or further discussion.

  • I think this word does fit to an extent, but the behavior in question isn't quite patronizing or pompous (although the person who got me asking this question in the first place probably is). It's more hiding behind the shield of "this is my opinion" to avoid having to back up what one says. – Joel Aug 28 '15 at 1:07
  • Why not just "a pontiff"? – einpoklum Nov 2 '19 at 22:11

I would suggest autocratic, which is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as “taking no account of other people’s wishes or opinions”.


The word bigot fits your requirement exactly. Merriam Webster defines it in full as: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. Note that in the U.S. the word has become closely related to issues of race/religion, however usage in the UK is more general and can apply to any opinion.


Although it may be an incomplete answer, what you're describing is someone who is pigheaded.

...willfully or perversely unyielding... refusing to change your opinion... stubborn... stupidly obstinate

Merriam-Webster's quote, "the kind of pigheaded person who seems to believe that facts only confuse an issue," feels particularly on-point.


I think the words magisterial and doctrinaire, modified by an appropriate adverb of your choice, could do the trick.

They can evoke the giving of an opinion (like a judgement of a magister) that is by definition law or rule.


Obdurate is a bit like obstinate, but is more pejorative.

Of course, all of these descriptive terms are irregular (in the style of "Yes Minister') - as in, I am firm in my opinions, you are dogmatic, he is pig-headed.


(pə-rĕmp′tə-rē) adj.
[Latin perēmptōrius, from perēmptus, past participle of perimere, to take away : per-, per- + emere, to obtain.]

  1. a. Subject to no further debate or dispute; final and unassailable: a peremptory decree.

    b. Not allowing contradiction or refusal; imperative: The officer issued peremptory commands.

  2. Offensively self-assured; imperious or dictatorial: a swaggering, peremptory manner.

    - Free Dictionary


How about "smug"? Merriam Webster: "having or showing the annoying quality of people who feel very pleased or satisfied with their abilities, achievements, etc."

Although it might be missing the connotation of getting angry in response to challenges, since a smug person might be more likely to disregard challenges. If this part is important to you, maybe "self-opinionated"? Merriam Webster: 1) conceited 2) stubbornly holding to one's own opinion : opinionated

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    The response to challenges is pretty important to what I'm getting at, though "angry" is probably a sloppy way to describe it. The more the opinions are challenged, the more nasty the person might get, but belligerence is not the immediate response. More trying to shut down the dissent under the guise of "this is my opinion". – Joel Aug 27 '15 at 1:37

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