Let me give you an example where I want this "mystery" word to fit. There are two person "A" and person "B". A had installed an air conditioner in his house long ago and has called in the customer care services for servicing it. B is the technician who went to A's house for troubleshooting. As per the rules, A is supposed to show the purchase bill to the technician after he finishes his job. But A had kept the bill in his office and even though A knew this was mandatory, he still did not bother to bring the bill because he thought that once the job is done, it cannot be reverted back to it's undone state and B would have no choice but to return back to the station with disappointment and anger because of the customer satisfaction and user experience policies which requires him to be polite and friendly to the customers. So he(A) is reluctant to bring the bill and he doesn't care about B. He just wants AC to get fixed. Mind you, A is not lazy.

So, the sample sentence is:

This was an act of _______ on the part of A.

One word that springs from my mind is "unjust". I am not sure though. Other ways to describe the situation in a sentence?

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    "As per the rules, A is supposed to show the purchase bill to the technician after he finishes his job." This is an example of a rule that is extremely difficult to enforce. The real problem is the rule itself, person A is just exploiting the bad rule.
    – barbecue
    Sep 1, 2015 at 0:35
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    A was remiss. The noun form is remissness, but it sounds awkward.
    – jxh
    Sep 1, 2015 at 2:12
  • @jxh "A" is not lazy. It's not the laziness which is main reason for him to not bring the bill. It's the "mystery word". Just trying to narrow down the options. Sep 1, 2015 at 9:36
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    I think he's tweaking the system.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 1, 2015 at 22:07
  • 1
    Sounds to me like A kept cool by playing [in] a little dirty pool!
    – Papa Poule
    Sep 1, 2015 at 22:26

10 Answers 10


I would say that person A is exploiting or taking advantage of a problem with the rules. The fact that the rule does not require presentation of the bill before work starts makes it very difficult and costly to enforce. Basically, you'd have to undo the work you already did to enforce it. Knowing that this is a weakness in the rule, person A simply exploits this weakness for personal convenience.

In this case the sentence might be worded "This was an act of exploitation on the part of A" but that doesn't sound very natural. I would probably word it differently, something like "This was an exploitation of the rules by A" or possibly "A has abused the rules."

If the action was knowing and intentional, it might be considered misfeasance or malfeasance, thought this is generally used more when referring to someone acting in a professional capacity, such as a corporate officer or government official.

Also, as with negligence, these words have specific legal meanings, so could be interpreted as legal threats.

  • It's more like the person 'A' enjoys the inconvenience caused to the person 'B'. In fact, he feels proud that he can get away with doing something wrong. Does it fit? Sep 1, 2015 at 9:42
  • @barbecue You said the exact thing I wanted to know. I just need you to convert it into my sentence if possible. Sep 1, 2015 at 9:50

An appropriate term for this might be manipulation. You can, of course, expand that to indicate the nature of manipulation.

This was an act of manipulation through intentional negligence on the part of A.

A is manipulating the process. If this happens enough times, B's company will eventually require technicians to have the bill in their hands before they perform service. Sometimes, A will be charged for the visit even if B performs no service because A did not have the necessary documentation.


Perhaps "It was a couldn't-give-a-damm attitude of A"

devil-may-care also refers to a lack of concern.


Building on Paul Rowe's excellent answer, I would say:

This was an act of selfish manipulation on the part of A.

A is indeed manipulating the process with selfishness as motivation. He only cares that his needs are met and does not care that the business transaction requires a reciprocity.


You could use negligence:

: failure to take the care that a responsible person usually takes : lack of normal care or attention

Your sentence would read:

This was an act of negligence on the part of A.

  • Negligence can work but it does carry the connotation of actual harm having been inflicted, especially in legal terminology.
    – barbecue
    Sep 1, 2015 at 0:40
  • @barbecue: I believed that the point about "not caring about B" meant that harm was inflicted upon B.
    – jxh
    Sep 1, 2015 at 0:50
  • 1
    Lack of caring alone isn't sufficient to mean real harm has been done. Causing someone Inconvenience or annoyance is not really harming them, but depending on the consequences for B, such as disciplinary action taken against him by his employer, then it could be harm, but we don't have enough information to know for sure.
    – barbecue
    Sep 1, 2015 at 1:00
  • @barbecue - Wiki's definition is pretty fast and lose: "negligence can potentially entitle the injured plaintiff to compensation for harm to their body, property, mental well-being, financial status, or intimate relationships." -given some of what's in the context, quite a few of these apply (depends how good the lawyers are).
    – Mazura
    Sep 1, 2015 at 1:33
  • @barbecue Yes, you can assume the things you have mentioned. There would be real consequences for B by his employer. Sep 1, 2015 at 9:52


o·mis·sion /əˈmiSH(ə)n,ōˈmiSH(ə)n/ noun –Google

a failure to do something, especially something that one has a moral or legal obligation to do.

Omission (criminal law) –Wiki

Duty to act when contracted to do so [...] the court ruled that "a man might incur criminal liability from a duty arising out of contract."

Sin of omission (Catholicism) –Wiki

a failure to do something one can and ought to do.

This was an act of (or, the sin of) omission on the part of A.

Although A is under contract to produce said document, his non-compliance might be legally justified depending on his location's privacy laws. He is however, a party to gross negligence, seeing as that he was aware of this requirement.

Response to comments: @JonyAgarwal - That would depend on your religion and your morals. In my eyes, and in the eyes of my laws, this was an act of bad faith.

Bad faith –Wiki

In ordinary usage, bad faith is equated with being of "two hearts", or "a sustained form of deception which consists in entertaining or pretending to entertain one set of feelings, and acting as if influenced by another", and is synonymous with double mindedness, with disloyalty, double dealing, hypocrisy, infidelity, breach of contract, unfaithfulness, pharisaicism (emphasizing or observing the letter but not the spirit of the law, see Doctrine of absurdity), tartuffery (a show or expression of feelings or beliefs one does not actually hold or possess), affectation, bigotry, and lip service.

[This was an act of bad faith on the part of A.]

In law: A decision made in bad faith is grounded, not on a rational connection between the circumstances and the outcome, but on antipathy toward the individual for non-rational reasons ...

  • 1
    Doesn't 'sin' sound a bit exaggerated ? Sep 1, 2015 at 9:39
  • 1
    What A did is not something immoral Sep 1, 2015 at 9:49
  • @JonyAgarwal - Comments ticked for posterity; I agree with neither: see edit.
    – Mazura
    Sep 1, 2015 at 18:09

I may not be correctly parsing your example, but it it would appear that party A is violating at least the social norm of courtesy if not some level of legal agreement.

If your inactions cause inconvenience to fall on others, you are inconsiderate or discourteous. Acting in 'Bad Faith'(mentioned above) is actually a legal term when someone is 'following the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law'.

It may be that he is flouting the terms of the agreement because he know party B is powerless to react.


This showed an uncooperative attitude on the part of A.

A showed an uncooperative attitude.

A was uncooperative.

This showed a lack of cooperation on A's part.


I would think of it as an act of contrived neglect and active laziness on A's part, knowing what would result. He took advantage of B's habit of, or required kindness and his, A's, preference to do as little as possible towards being fair and honest.

It is particularly reprehensible in that he made it happen through his purposeful neglect rather than real action. He might pass it off as only an accident or unintentional when it has all the intended results of actual mendacity.


You could also say that this was an act of "deceit" on the part of A.

  • No, it's not a deceit. A never said that he would keep his bill ready at home to begin with. Sep 1, 2015 at 9:54

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