I'm looking for two words. They aren't opposites, but they sit on different ends of a spectrum.

Word One

The first word describes someone who takes what they have learned and applies it in the 'real world'.

Related to: Creator, applier, worker

Word Two

The second word describes someone who takes what they have learned and proposes new ideas in that field.

Related to: Theorist, innovator, researcher

It would be best if both of these terms were flattering, and of equal value.

Perhaps the 'related to's I've provided are the best available options; but someone with a greater lexicon will hopefully be able to provide a powerful pair of options.

  • Equal value? Good luck with that. Of course each side views itself as superior! – GEdgar Jan 14 '16 at 2:26
  • 1
    engineer, scientist – Jim Jan 14 '16 at 2:55
  • 2
    Inculcator; implementer ... developer, man of ideas. – Ricky Jan 14 '16 at 3:56

Given the emphasis on equal value on not being judgmental, I'd go with builder for applied knowledge and inventor or innovator for innovation. Neither term is too laudatory (magnate/entrepreneur), nor dismissive (worker/tinkerer).

The builder emphasizes that one can add value through doing work and applying perhaps non-innovative knowledge, while inventor or innovator emphasizes that there is some new idea in play that creates an advantage over existing players. And in terms of not being too laudatory, we can all think of builders who did not become magnates and inventors who did not capitalize on their inventions at all. Neither builder or inventor implies success.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.