I don't know of any nouns that describes a person who thrives under pressure. In basketball and sports in general, I know people who do well under pressure are called clutch. However, clutch would be an adjective. Are there any nouns that fit this description? If there are no nouns, what other adjectives have this meaning.

  • 1
    "unflinching" ?
    – Graffito
    Apr 23, 2016 at 9:52
  • Adjectives: antifragile has been proposed but isn't a mainstream word; resilient suggests coping under pressure (not necessarily thriving); driven has the right feel, though pressure may be incidental to its definition.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 23, 2016 at 10:24
  • Not exactly a single word, but I usually call myself a "glutton for punishment" when I'm trying to explain to people how I need pressure to excel.
    – mgw854
    Apr 23, 2016 at 14:53
  • @mgw854 How would glutton for punishment show that you need pressure to excel though? Glutton just means greedy, so you'd be greedy for punishment essentially making you a masochist wouldn't it? Apr 25, 2016 at 23:41
  • @user1470901 literally, yes. But it's an idiomatic expression. It's someone who takes on onerous tasks with something of a habit. Which is absolutely something that someone who thrives under pressure would do.
    – mgw854
    Apr 25, 2016 at 23:48

4 Answers 4


I don't know if anyone really thrives under pressure, it's just that some people don't seem to let it bother them. The word that came to mind for me was: unflappable.

  • Not what i was looking for. But very close. Thanks for the input. May 25, 2016 at 7:56
  • Rereading I see you wanted a noun. That's a little tougher, especially a single word. Otherwise, I like "steely-eyed missile man" from Apollo 13 but that might apply only to astronauts. ;) May 28, 2016 at 0:41
  • I was fine with an adjective if no nouns were known, but like you said unflappable does not necessary mean that the person does better under pressure. They just don't let pressure get to them. It does not necessarily mean they do better under pressure, which was what I was looking for. So a C student who gets C's all the time and get's a C on the test and was not fazed by the pressure counts as unflappable. Whereas I am looking for a C student who gets an A on the final and gets a B in the class, demonstrating "clutchness." May 28, 2016 at 8:25

It seems SPARTAN would mean exactly the same. In every field of life, the word , where ever used, bears the connotation of rigor, painstaking effort and self discipline. Merriam Webster defines 'Spartan' as undaunted by pain or danger reminiscent of life of ancient Greek city of Sparta.

  • You're kind of cherry-picking Merriam-Webster. "Undaunted by pain or danger" is further down the list than "marked by strict self-discipline or self-denial <a Spartan athlete>" or "marked by simplicity, frugality, or avoidance of luxury and comfort <a Spartan room>" -- the latter being the most common usage I've seen. You also mentioned self-discipline but I'd guess that's not what the OP meant by "thrives under pressure." Spartan might be used to describe an athlete's overall work ethic, but I've never heard it used to describe, e.g., an amazing athletic feat. May 28, 2016 at 0:33

I have a citation for these nouns as part of popular culture's definition of a person who is addicted to stress: (1) stressorexic; (2) stressoholic; and (3) stressball.

The citation, though admittedly slightly weak and pretty comical, is, at least, a popular culture dictionary of sorts: Urban Dictionary.


Possibly related: adrenaline junkie.


ETA reference:

"They [adrenaline junkies] tend to create drama and crises in their lives—either on a conscious or unconscious level—to trigger the body’s stress response and get the rush that comes with the excitement. These are people who don’t merely survive well under pressure, but work best under stressful circumstances.

(emphasis mine)

Source here.


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