I swear, there's a phrase (a simile) I hear a lot that describes when someone just appears different from everyone else in a given crowd or location.

For example, (and I'm trying to be as sensitive as I can), something like a tall person in a midget convention or something. Or a blue bowl in a cupboard filled with red dinnerware. A person (or thing) that just utterly and completely doesn't fit in with everyone (or everything) else there.

I've been trying to look up this phrase for the past half an hour at least, and my Google searches are just not returning anything useful.

Are there any phrases or similes that come to mind?

  • 1
    "I'm trying to be as insensitive as I can" - Why do I find this totally irrelevant ? What am I missing? Nov 26, 2015 at 15:02
  • Other suggestions are superior but "black sheep" can also be defined as "a person who causes shame or embarrassment because of deviation from the accepted standards of his or her group" and not necessarily the common "One who is considered disreputable or disgraceful by his or her relatives or associates."
    – user116295
    Nov 26, 2015 at 17:42
  • @Jony, OP is concerned about political correctness.
    – shawnt00
    Nov 26, 2015 at 17:49
  • 1
    @shawnt00 Insensitive is the opposite of sensitive, he doesn't care at all about politcal correctness. The reason he mentions it is because the term midget can be seen as rude.
    – user116295
    Nov 26, 2015 at 18:51
  • A term that works for a person who is conspicuous in any way is liable to be bland (he stands out, he is easy to spot, he is hard to miss). Something more colorful must refer to some property of the people involved and/or be unsuitable for polite company (he sticks out like a prick in a nunnery).
    – Beta
    Nov 27, 2015 at 0:36

8 Answers 8


You could say that the tall guy in the midget convention looks like a fish out of water or, by extension, that he looks like a bull in a china shop...and that the blue bowl in the cabinet filled with red dinnerware sticks out like a blot on the landscape, but you could also say that both stick out like dog's balls or like a fly on a wedding cake or like a wart on a/the nose.

stick out like dog's balls

: (Chiefly AusEng) not fit; be out of place Slang Dictionary

stick out like a fly on a wedding cake

: to be very conspicuous or obvious Green's Dictionary of Slang

be like a fish out of water

: to feel awkward because you are not familiar with a situation or because you are very different from the people around you. Cambridge Idioms Dictionary

bull in a china shop

: (Prov.) a very clumsy creature in a delicate situation. McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

a blot on the landscape

: something which looks unpleasant and spoils a pleasant view Cambridge Idioms Dictionary

  • 1
    Some of these I had never heard before! Thanks, +1!
    – AAM111
    Nov 26, 2015 at 21:15
  • 1
    these were some of the phrases I was looking for! I also like the number of phrases shared in this answer. :)
    – JaykeBird
    Dec 16, 2015 at 9:15
  • 'Fish out of water' specifically relates to how the 'odd one out' might feel, not how they look. Unless of course you can see that someone is ill at ease, but that is a reference to behavior rather than appearance.
    – Spagirl
    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:44

He sticks out like a sore thumb:

  • If someone or something ​stands/​sticks out like a sore ​thumb, everyone ​notices them because they are very different from the ​people or things around them. (Cambridge Dictionary)

There are a few others.

  • This was the phrase I had originally thought of, but it didn't fit into the context into which the phrase would be used. Thus I came here looking for other examples. But indeed, this works!
    – JaykeBird
    Dec 16, 2015 at 9:12
  • I wish I could select multiple answers. I selected the other one because it had multiple phrases in its one answer, and one was a phrase better fitting for my situation. Hopefully, with this being the most upvoted answer too, though, this answer will still be rather visible to future visitors
    – JaykeBird
    Dec 16, 2015 at 9:21

Stand out from the crowd:

  • to be very obvious or unusual. We try to stand out from the crowd by producing movies and TV programs that no one else would produce.

Cambridge Dictionary


The odd one out.

Something or someone in a group that is different or exceptional, that does not fit.

  • 3
    Ah, didn't notice the specific request for a simile. This answer sticks out like a sore thumb.
    – jabrew
    Nov 27, 2015 at 7:32

It's an eccentric.

An eccentric is a person who has an unusual, peculiar, or odd personality, set of beliefs, or behavior pattern.

Example: Sometimes I wear my silk pyjamas when I am going for a walk in the mornings, does that make me eccentric ?

  • 1
    Not excentric, or exccentric. Only eccentric. (excentric means not centrally placed, exccentric is presumably just a typo, because it's not a word.)
    – AndyT
    Nov 26, 2015 at 17:16
  • 1
    "Eccentric" is more about behaviour and personality than appearance, though. Nov 26, 2015 at 17:44
  • Was looking for a phrase, not just a single word. However, this word does fit (depending upon this situation), so it works too!
    – JaykeBird
    Dec 16, 2015 at 9:11


He sticks out like a porcupine in a nudist colony
He sticks out like a turd in a punchbowl

(The last one is obviously not very polite, to say the least.)

  • 1
    The top one made me laugh! I apologize if my typing "insensitive" in the question was a bit confusing to you. Either way, these phrases work, quite vividly.
    – JaykeBird
    Dec 16, 2015 at 9:17

An outsider: a person who does not belong to a particular group.

I was also thinking an outcast but that usually means the group doesn't want you, not that you don't fit in.

  • I was looking for a phrase, but these words nearly perfectly fit what I was describing. My mind had drawn a blank while writing the question so I didn't think of using words like these.
    – JaykeBird
    Dec 16, 2015 at 9:16
  • @JaykeBird glad I could help : ) Dec 17, 2015 at 23:24

Disclaimer: The following expressions are obviously not politically correct. The OP asked for insensitive expressions, so that is what I am giving him. If you find them offensive, feel free to down-vote them. Feel free, as well, to leave snarky comments; I will not be offended.

  • He sticks out like a pregnant pole-vaulter.

  • He sticks out like a Muslim at a Southern Baptist convention.

  • He sticks out like a bald actor in a revival of "Hair."

  • As out of place as a fire-and-brimstone preacher at a Pride parade.

  • 2
    Oh my gosh, hadn't realized I had put "insensitive" rather than "sensitive" in my original question. Either way, these phrases work but I was looking for something not quite as specific. Thank you for taking my question by its exact wording!
    – JaykeBird
    Dec 16, 2015 at 9:08
  • @JaykeBird: You are free to edit your question at any time. I'll do it for you this time. Don Apr 15, 2016 at 12:29
  • I didn't even really think of editing it, frankly. At the time, that was my first ever question on Stack Exchange. Thank you for that!
    – JaykeBird
    Apr 19, 2016 at 12:00

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