I'm looking for a single word for "lazy student". In my own language there is such a word that a teacher would use for a student who doesn't engage and doesn't care. In English, the word "slacker" is the best I could think of.

  • 9
    sounds very close to a regular student ;-)
    – Xen2050
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 0:33
  • 1
    sloth? also $muff$
    – Narasimham
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 0:47
  • Just out of curiosity, what is the word in your language and how does it translate into English [literally]?
    – Icy
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 17:50
  • I'd go for mismanaged or unmanaged. Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 19:44
  • 2
    underachiever. This sounds politically correct, and I don't want to be politically correct. But there are a lot of reasons a student might be an underachiever -- from dyslexia to a boring teacher. For over a million years, we learned by doing. The classroom is very artificial.
    – ab2
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 20:50

5 Answers 5



a person who evades his or her duty or work


A person of little worth or usefulness.

Couch potatoTFD

an idler who spends much time on a couch (usually watching television)

Couldn't find any word specifically tailored for students. Aren't most students like this anyway?

  • 1
    There are nuances in all these words. Maybe the answer would be more useful if the words were grouped by their meaning. For instance, "lead-swinger" means "someone who dodges work, while pretending to be busy doing it", if I understand correctly from the dictionary, while an "idler", just sits around doing nothing. Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 19:45
  • @user3653831 Maybe if you provide more context in the question, I could narrow it down.
    – NVZ
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 19:47
  • When I wrote the question, I only wanted a word for a lazy graduate student who would not do his research work, but, somehow, he'd always convince his adviser he was doing a great job. I didn't expect a single word for that, so I asked the question above. Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 19:56
  • 1
    @user3653831 Again, that describes me. I'm one month away from thesis submission, yet procrastinating like there's no tomorrow. I'm not even sure what describes me perfectly. Engineer, I guess. ;)
    – NVZ
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 20:05
  • When you add "graduate student", what changes? You may find some ideas in the discussion of 'ABD' students [All But Dissertation].
    – Icy
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 17:57

I think slacker works the best here:

a person who avoids work or effort


  • 2
    Once again a focus on the person and not the behaviour. Not constructive. Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 19:52

indolent Disinclined to exert oneself; habitually lazy.

from: Motivating Unmotivated Students http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol5/504-reeves.aspx

"Many students think that they already know how to "play school"—keep your head down, don't bother the teachers, and do the minimum necessary. This path of least resistance is typified by the indolent student, who in turn is part of a society that is, in Robert Bork’s (1996) memorable phrase, "slouching toward Gomorrah. ..."


I may go for "procrastinator" definition: is a person who delays or puts things off — like work, chores, or other actions — that should be done in a timely manner.


I'd suggest, dunce

: a dull-witted, stupid, or ignorant person.

[1520–30; after John Duns Scotus, whose writings were attacked by the humanists as foolish]

Random House Kennerman Webster's Dictionary

: a bad and lazy student.

WordReference; Larousse

Einstein, Churchill, and Hitler were dunces in school.

dunce cap or dunce's cap

A tall, cone-shaped hat formerly worn by slow or lazy students as a punishment in school (emphasis is mine.)

Random House

Also, consider jerk(-off), goof-off, lazy bastard, lazy bum, and tool


: Slang: Vulgar. a stupid, bumbling, foolish, or lazy person; jerk (emphasis is mine.)

Random House


Slang. One who shirks work or responsibility.



A bum is defined as a person who is lazy and does not work by choice.


A person who does no work; a lazy bum

Farlex Dictionary

  • 11
    Someone who is not smart may well be a very hard worker.
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 23:07
  • 3
    None of these would be used by a native speaker. Most of the words mean something else now. Bum = tramp, jerk-off = wanker etc. @NVZ's answer and its synonyms are in widespread use. Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 5:51
  • 1
    @Elian There is a nuanced but significant difference between lazy-bum and bum. Lazy is the operative word. There's a difference between knowing English and being able to search for words on other fourums. I don't want to sound like a git but I see too many upvotes on this site for manifestly incorrect answers. Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 6:17

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