19

I have looked online and most websites reference words such as cowardly and spooked. Those however don't seem to reflect what I am looking for.

I am looking for a simple word to call someone who gets scared easily.

Sample sentence:

Bob is so _______. He gets scared so easily!

  • You need a translation of the Italian fifone (person full of fifa i.e. scare). en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fifone says "coward" which is correct but probably too extreme for what you mean. You're looking for a non-pejorative adjective, right? – Nemo Jul 25 '16 at 10:41

11 Answers 11

49

skittish (Webster)

adjective 1. apt to start or shy: a skittish horse. 2. restlessly or excessively lively: a skittish mood. 3. fickle; uncertain. 4. shy; coy.

39

Bob is a scaredy–cat. He gets scared so easily.

scaredy–cat: an unduly fearful person.

Credits: @bill

  • 7
    Variant form fraidy-cat. – Monty Harder Jul 25 '16 at 14:42
  • 1
    The example sentence given is requesting an adjective, but this is a great suggestion for a noun to mean what the OP is asking for! – Justin Jul 26 '16 at 0:50
  • 2
    @Justin Where in "I am looking for a simple word to call someone who gets scared easily" do you see the word "adjective"? I usually call people by nouns rather than adjectives. – Monty Harder Jul 26 '16 at 17:26
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    @Monty Harder - The example sentence has a blank for an adjective, which leads me to believe that's what the OP was asking for. – Justin Jul 27 '16 at 3:27
37

Bob is so jumpy. He gets scared so easily.

jumpy: subject to sudden, involuntary starts, especially from nervousness, fear, excitement, etc.

  • Very good answer! Much closer and more specific to what the OP was looking for than mine. +1 – Justin Jul 25 '16 at 19:28
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    I’ve only seen ‘jumpy’ used in transient situations, like after a loud noise, rather than as a general personality trait. – Basil Bourque Jul 27 '16 at 23:34
  • @BasilBourque Random example from Google Books found by searching for "jumpy man": "Billy was a nervous, jumpy man..." It's used both situationally and in describing character traits. – pyobum Jul 28 '16 at 0:34
26

Bob is timid.

Timid

Pronunciation: /ˈtimid/

ADJECTIVE (timider, timidest)

Showing a lack of courage or confidence; easily frightened:

I was too timid to ask for what I wanted.

(Source: Oxford Dictionaries)

  • 7
    I tend to hear "timid" used in the specific context of social interaction, almost like being shy. – Devsman Jul 25 '16 at 16:28
  • I'm thinking of it more in terms of its literary use, especially in A.A. Milne's Winnie The Pooh series in regards to the character of Piglet. But I do see your point, for sure. I believe that the answers of "jumpy" and "skittish" are closer to what the OP was looking for. 'Timid' was just the first thing that came to mind after reading the question. – Justin Jul 26 '16 at 0:49
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    Timid is the best answer here. It means exactly what the OP asked for. – barbecue Jul 27 '16 at 0:22
11

I think chicken-hearted is a better option than timid as timid can also mean shy or lacking confidence and jumpy is usually used in the context of being anxious or excitable:

chicken-hearted

Oxford dictionaries

Easily frightened; cowardly.

or

yellow-bellied

American Heritage dictionary

  1. Slang Cowardly.

or

lily-livered or white-livered

American Heritage dictionary

Cowardly; timid.

6

Cowardly

Coward

[kou-erd]

noun 1. a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.

... or, the definition I prefer, "one who is too easily cowed."

  • Dictionary
  • "I have looked online and most websites reference words such as cowardly and spooked. Those however don't seem to reflect what I am looking for." - From the question. – Shaz Jul 26 '16 at 17:42
  • @Ryan Slap my wrist. I read that, read through the answers, and somehow totally forgot... my apologies. – Ghotir Jul 26 '16 at 18:30
6

Wuss is a good one if you want to be informal. It can be a general term of weakness whether mental or physical.

"Bob is such a wuss, he even gets scared watching Harry Potter"

  • We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. For an introduction to the site, take the Tour. For help writing a good answer, see How to Answer. – MetaEd Jul 25 '16 at 17:09
  • Wuss often means someone who is weak or ineffective. "Bob is such a wuss, he couldn't lift that box." – barbecue Jul 27 '16 at 0:25
2

Apprehensive

uneasy or fearful about something that might happen:

Dictionary.com

If Bob is always worrying about something that might happen, then he'd be scared easily.

"Bob seems really apprehensive lately"

1

Consider the second meaning of spooky:

(of a person or animal) easily frightened; nervous.

I've mostly heard this in reference to animals, as in:

"Those deer are spooky; they'll run away as soon as you start walking toward them!"

  • 3
    Skeletons are spooky; calling myself spooky because they spooked me sounds kooky. – talrnu Jul 26 '16 at 17:17
  • @talrnu Skeletons are the first meaning of spooky. Deer (for example) are the second meaning of spooky. Unless the skeletons are easily frightened or the deer are creepy, of course. – Kevin Workman Jul 26 '16 at 17:25
1

Bob is such a feartie - Scots colloquial.

From Oxford Dictionaries:

Scots informal: A coward or timid person.

For example, "I just want the prime minster to come and debate with me and stop being such a big feartie." (Alex Salmond referring to David Cameron)

0

Skittish, twitchy, jumpy all allude to someone who would leap out of their seat at the sound of a loud noise, but they could also refer to a horse or a race car that is overly powerful and uncontrollable... so it's not emasculating if meant to be used as an insult.

Gullible, wimpy (is a wimp), on-edge, paranoid, superstitious all refer to someone who's prone to dread like a boy who is afraid to follow his friends into a dark forest.

protected by Community Jul 26 '16 at 1:11

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