I need an adjective to describe a person who does anything to get something.

Macbeth's character is very ambitious but also ....

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    @sumelic Your link is possibly confusing to the person asking the question. While ruthless is one of the answers, the others are possibly inappropriate for the context given here, and might confuse the person asking the question about Macbeth, which is why I provided a specific answer to a specific question, both before and after the context was provided, for confirmation. May 1 '16 at 19:12

unscrupulous seems like a good adjective for Macbeth's character.

"not controlled by one's conscience and contemptuous of what one knows to be right or honorable" TFD

  • "an unscrupulous landlord".
  • ""unscrupulous politicians who would be happy to sell their country in order to gain power"

Having or showing no moral principles; not honest or fair: unscrupulous landlords might be tempted to harass existing tenants. ODO



"Some ​people ​believe that to ​succeed in this ​world you have to be ruthless."

(not ​thinking or ​worrying about any ​pain ​caused to ​others) http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/ruthless

The example given is 'Macbeth's character is very ambitious but also...'

"Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth: Manipulation & Ruthlessness"




: stubbornly or recklessly determined.

Random House


"Machiavellian", willing to employ immoral and/or dishonest means to achieve political power. Ruthlessly manipulative.

"He was willing to employ Machiavellian tactics in order to win the election."

The word refers to Niccolò Machiavelli, who is well-known for writing "The Prince," a Renaissance-era treatise on the attainment of political power.


It's often been said of such people, "They will stop at nothing."

From the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus:

If you stop at nothing to ​achieve something, you are ​willing to do anything in ​order to ​achieve it, ​even if it ​involves ​danger, ​great ​effort, or ​harming other ​people:

She'll stop at nothing to get her ​revenge.

From the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs:

will stop at nothing

(Cliché) will do everything possible (to accomplish something); will be unscrupulous.

Bill would stop at nothing to get his way.

Bob is completely determined to get promoted. He'll stop at nothing.


Consider "cynical" in the sense of a person who behaves regardless of accepted standards of honesty or morality.

In this sense, "cynicism" refers to the attitude or behaviour of someone who is willing to let other people be harmed in order to get an advantage.

  • Cynicism wouldn't be a sufficient description of someone who's a social climber, for example. Likewise, people can be cynical and also have no ambition.
    – socrates
    May 1 '16 at 23:51

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