I'm sure you've had a conversation with someone like this. The person constantly reads something into everything that you say or makes quick judgements about you based on very little information. I guess "judgemental" would be accurate, but that doesn't perfectly nail it. I was thinking "presumptive" captures it, but the definitions for that word don't seem to include that usage. Any ideas?

  • 1
    Maybe 'assumptive' or 'presumptuous.' I suspect there's a better one though. Sep 4 '15 at 15:42
  • Bear in mind judgemental always implies prone to making [hasty] negative assessments. The nearest equivalent I can think of for being prone to making any judgement [too] quickly (positive or negative) is impressionable. Are you specifically and only asking about the "negative" tendency"? Sep 4 '15 at 16:05
  • 1
    I'm thinking of someone who assumes things, good or bad, about other people. It doesn't have to be negative. It's someone who always claims to know other people's motives or have someone pegged as something.
    – Matthew
    Sep 4 '15 at 16:18
  • 1
    Presumably the judgments that the person so swiftly forms are based on his or her applying some method of shorthand assessment. Often such systems of snap judgment are founded on various stereotypes that typically entail inferring multiple characteristics of a person from one or two or a very few observed characteristics. So I would be tempted to call the judger's character trait "a tendency to stereotype."
    – Sven Yargs
    Sep 5 '15 at 1:12
  • Have you googled "attribution theory"? In psychology it's the tendency for people to attribute characteristics to people based on what they perceive. That might lead somewhere.
    – Wudang
    Oct 4 '19 at 15:20

11 Answers 11


The character trait is being prejudiced (i.e., prejudging).

  • This was my immediate thought as well. Although it can have other connotations, in its purest form it's literally pre-judging!
    – A C
    Mar 20 '17 at 14:25

Probably an assuming person;


  • taking too much for granted; presumptuous, arrogant.

The Free Dictionary

  • Yeah, I guess "presumptuous" or "assuming" works. That was my first thought, but some of the narrow definitions of those words in dictionaries made me second guess it. The definitions make it seem like those words really refer to arrogance, and the word "unassuming" (which to me should refer to someone who wisely and charitably refrains from assuming things about people too quickly) is defined as "not having a desire to be noticed or praised." Confusing. But I guess the context in which these words are used is what determines the exact meaning at that moment. Thanks for the input.
    – Matthew
    Sep 4 '15 at 16:04

Perhaps he is a person rushing to judge others.

  • 1
    I just wanted to point out that the tags say single-word-requests, which was edited-in at the same time you posted your answer (16:16). Surely you would have noticed this change and corrected your answer accordingly? Feb 27 '17 at 20:29

This is a person who tends to make snap judgments or jump to conclusions.

If you want one word, the person is



"Given the right premises, any desired conclusion can be reached, automatic as addition. This is plain to most of mankind after a few years of experiment. Jumping to conclusions is an easy process, akin to cooking, which in fact it rivals in age. Pick your premises, follow the rules, and apple pie.

"Jumping to conclusions is not without value. It is the core of art. But it is a dangerous business. Man entertained himself for years with notions of divinity and superiority — easy conclusions from a hundred sets of premises. The result was greater suffering than life makes necessary.

"It didn't occur at first that there was a problem. Artists of the actual were too busy messing around, experimenting, to realize the results of what they did — much as a careless chef might poison thirty banquet guests through experiment gone awry. Recipes in final form are easy to follow. It is harder to invent them, and it is commonplace for men to be too close to their own work for others' safety.

"Once men realized the danger in false conclusions, of course they instantly reformed themselves, and as everybody knows have ever since been far more sparing in the making of them. We should all be congratulated, but the job is not yet done. Far more serious than jumping to conclusions is its antecedent — jumping to premises. The ideal man is not only sparing of conclusions, but careful about the premises to which he commits himself. Few of us are ideal, but many strive. It is another human pastime.

"Every day it is possible to see the bravest and best among us reviewing their premises. We should be heartened."

Alexei Panshin (from Masque World)

  • Interesting excerpt on the topic. So, are you suggesting "jumping to premises" as the answer?
    – shivams
    Oct 5 '19 at 18:42
  • 1
    @shivams "jumping to premises" is not an idiom, "jumping to conclusions" is.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 5 '19 at 20:40
  • Can I say 'You are having a false assumption or You're under a false assumption' after telling the truth?
    – d a i s y
    Jun 3 '20 at 19:05

Edit Delete - previous answer

Edit Add:


  1. One who is obnoxiously self-assertive and arrogant:

  2. Person who acts as though he/she knows everything and overwrites (DISMISSES) the ideas, opinions, comments and/or suggestions of others.

2a. Usually, a know-it-all is so sure of their own knowledge that they tend to be condescending to the people around them.

-- I wasn't able to find a technical term for 'know-it-all'(which seems to cover a cluster of characteristics),


Know-it-alls are those irritating people who act as if they are experts on every topic — even when evidence and behaviors prove otherwise.

They demonstrate their self-ascribed superiority in a wide variety of ways, including dominating conversations, offering unwanted advice, being argumentative in meetings and bossing loved ones and co-workers around. They can also be condescending, challenge authority figures and engage in pointless debates.

Know-it-alls may act cocky. But that doesn’t mean they have an abundance of self-confidence. In fact, know-it-alls sometimes struggle with low self-esteem and use their braggadocio to prove to others that they are smarter than they are. It can also mask underlying anxiety and increase when they feel uncomfortable....

  • Interesting suggestions. Didn't think in this direction.
    – shivams
    Oct 5 '19 at 13:24


It means ‘generally hates people’ or judges everybody.


  • What has been asked is that they don't necessarily have to hate; they just assume things, often without any malicious intentions or hate. And those assumptions often turn out to be offensive, but not always. So, misanthropic isn't quite a good fit.
    – shivams
    Oct 10 '19 at 20:22


This adjective might be used if you are trying to bring out either the undeserved importance that the speaker places on himself or that his assumptions are incorrect.

characterized by assumption of dignity or importance, especially when exaggerated or undeserved: a pretentious, self-important waiter.

making an exaggerated outward show; ostentatious.

full of pretense or pretension; having no factual basis; false.

The OP suggested and disregarded "presumptive," but I still like


as it contains a "readiness to presume":

to take for granted, assume, or suppose: I presume you're tired after your drive.

Law. to assume as true in the absence of proof to the contrary.

to undertake with unwarrantable boldness.


Impulsive doesn't speak to the judgmental attribute. Prejudiced is the closest to a single-word answer to your question, i.e: "That woman with the red hair and that big purse over there-look at her! She's a shoplifter! Red-headed people are hot-headed and impulsive and that large purse says that she's going to take stuff out of the store without paying for it"

This type of pre-judging is called "profiling", She's taken a stereotypical, but totally unsubstantiared characteristic for red headed people, painted this stranger with that brush, and added the thief insult just because she has a big purse. Maybe she just took the walk of shame and had a change of clothes, Maybe she's going to the gym. Maybe she's picking up her infant son, and that purse is full of his baby clothes and a bottle or two for him. Maybe she saw some skinny model in Elle or Vogue who looked great striding down the runway in Paris with a purse like that, and she thinks that she looks fashionable. Her hair has been passed down for 40 generations ever since Eric the Red visited London, eastern England, Scotland and Ireland. Does she speak Spanish? The Vikings plummeted, pillaged and raped the Iberian peninsula for three hundred years. And of course, she just must be the wife or daughter of an Irish Traveler.

She's just applying the same reasoning that fortune tellers use. Starting with their form of dress, their coiffure, the way they walk and talk, their tone of voice, their patience or anxiety, the companions with them, the set of their eyes or their gaze. Your friend believes that she's good at "reading" people. However you get to this point that all of these "gifts" that she has are just the building blocks for "pre-judging", and by definition, one who "pre-judges" people is said to be "prejudiced."



Someone who presumes things, takes things for granted, anticipates before the fact.

Presumption: ‘an idea that is taken to be true, and often used as the basis for other ideas, although it is not known for certain.’

Etymology ‘presume’ - late Middle English: from Old French presumer, from Latin praesumere ‘anticipate’ (in late Latin ‘take for granted’), from prae ‘before’ + sumere ‘take’.




Someone who pushes over boundaries, is disrespectful, usually by presuming more than is being offered.

As in ‘ she’s a bit cheeky - always overstepping the mark, making assumptions’.

Being ‘cheeky’ in the UK often means ‘overstepping the mark’ or ‘asking too much, or taking too much’.

But dictionary definitions don’t seem to depict that. They talk mostly about apple-cheeked urchins, which are also cheeky, but ‘being a bit cheeky’ also means ‘asking for too much, more than you deserve’.

However I did find an example of this, meaning of cheeky, in use, which as I say, is common in UK English:

‘They are planning a trip to an island off the coast of the UK and are trying to avoid paying for the notoriously expensive ferry over. They have asked me to ask my PiL if they can leave their car on PiLs drive for a week. PiLs live in the town where the ferry goes from.

I know his parents would feel obliged if we asked and I don't like being put in the middle. I think my Dad and partner are being massively cheeky and so does DH who has refused to ask his parents.’


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