try-hard has many meanings

In gaming subculture slang, its common use is to describe a person that takes an intentionally fun or pleasant experience and tries to score/be the best in it at the cost of the enjoyment of others, and sometimes even his own.

not exactly a "bad sport"

Should be applicable on any situation where no one in particular is trying to be a big achiever because it clearly isn't the main goal, but one person decides he will do everything at his disposal to make his victory happen.

For example George participates at a couple's video making contest at his workplace for the funniest video.

where as everybody has got the same shot at the challenge, George hires 2 directors,a comedian, and pays all the employees in the bushiness 50$ to persuade them to accept having him as their partner.

edit: George deliberately breaks the "code of honor" for his own ego

closed as off-topic by user140086, curiousdannii, BiscuitBoy, Nathaniel, jimm101 Mar 15 '16 at 9:56

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  • I would call George opportunistic. – John Clifford Mar 13 '16 at 23:37
  • its not that he is taking advantage of opportunities, he sees opportunities to win in things where its not an opportunity you should strive to get in the first place. – downrep_nation Mar 13 '16 at 23:41
  • In that case how about unscrupulous? – John Clifford Mar 13 '16 at 23:49
  • 1
    That he isn't' participating in the spirit of the thing is obvious. He's a spoiler (not the word I would suggest). I see this happen in Cub Scouts, ALL THE TIME, where the kids are asked to make this or that and the fathers wind up doing it all. What ruins the project is now we have to select the winners. How are we supposed to do that? This is a GREAT question. Here's a point. I want that word! – user116032 Mar 14 '16 at 1:14
  • I have looked for a word for this myself. I think I settled on spoil-sport. – BBischof Mar 14 '16 at 18:34

I was going to suggest unscrupulous, but John Clifford beat me to it. Other words that might work include cutthroat and shark...

That guy's a card shark!

That card shark is a real cutthroat.

Such people are also said to be driven.

If the subject is male, you might also describe him as an alpha male, which can describe a man who's domineering.

  • unscrupulous is nearly there, clearly describes his actions. but it doesnt really cover the motive. but its very similar. i could in theory call someone a unscrupulous egoist – downrep_nation Mar 14 '16 at 5:09

pugnacious - showing a readiness or desire to fight or argue

Traditionally, this word might have been applied to a boy in the schoolyard who turned unintentional slights into fights. The pugnacious sort is not looking for a fight per se, but they inevitably end up in a fight. It has a lot to do with what the OP calls "egoist," in that they see everything as an assault on their ego, so they respond with maximum aggression. I think of it as thin-skinned combined with aggression.

Same root as pugilist, which is to say they're inclined to use fists.

  • 1
    But its not specifically violent or argumentative – downrep_nation Mar 14 '16 at 11:19

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