I am looking for a word to convey the meaning of

a person who likes underestimating others (such as never trust others because he/she assumes that they are not competent, etc.)

I know "underestimator" does not exist. So what is the correct word?


He is a(n) ______________ because he often underestimates others at the first time.

  • "Likes" as in actually derives pleasure from? Or as in happens to do often? And is it a good thing or a bad thing? And as considered by whom? And what register are we talking about? What is the context? What is the sentence you're looking to use it in? You have all these things but can't come up with anything useful. We have none of these things but are supposed to do better. Not sure how that is going to work.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 13:36
  • Are you looking for a noun specifically? The adjectives "pretentious", "arrogant", "conceited", or "judgmental" could each be used in this way.
    – R Mac
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 14:05
  • As another mentions, I can't find a single noun, but dozens of adjectives.
    – cobaltduck
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 14:32
  • To the extent that such people are not just [being] arrogant a-holes, perhaps the negativity bias of such “Negative Nellys/Neds” simply dominates their positivity bias to such an extent that their default reaction to people/things around them is to accentuate/overestimate the negative and in turn downplay/underestimate the positive (compared with “Pollyannas” who tend to do the opposite).
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 16:01

3 Answers 3


Belittler - M-W

belittle: to describe (someone or something) as little or unimportant

Belittle is to cause to seem little or less about a person or a thing.

The noun form of belittle is belittler.



noun Someone who criticizes something or someone, often unfairly
"His detractors claim that his fierce temper makes him unsuitable for leadership."

It usually requires an object, as in "detractor of somebody/something", and it usually does not work as a standalone noun. Max Williams explains in the comments:

We would say "Well, this plan certainly has its detractors, and Steve is one of them." But we wouldn't normally say "Steve is a detractor" - it begs the question "Of what?".

Vocabulary explains:

Use the noun detractor for someone who is always critical. You might describe your brother as a detractor of the government if he complains incessantly about taxes, voting, the President, and all the members of Congress. If a person takes a dislike to you in particular, he is your own personal detractor.

Underestimator should work fine. — Wiktionary

noun 1. One who underestimates.

  • Detractor is good, but it seems weird used as a standalone adjective, without an object, ie a thing that is being "detracted". Eg we would say "Well, this plan certainly has its detractors, and Steve is one of them." But we wouldn't normally say "Steve is a detractor" - it begs the question "Of what?". In your quoted example "his/him" refer to the object of the detraction. Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 15:51
  • with "underestimator", what about "habitual underestimator"? This (I think) better gets across the idea that you're talking about a characteristic. Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 15:54
  • 2
    I just fixed the mistake I put in my comment, which you copied, in which I said "Using it as a standalone adjective" when it should have been "Using it as a standalone noun". :) Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 16:22

A cynic comes close.

From M-W:

cynic noun

: a person who has negative opinions about other people and about the things people do; especially : a person who believes that people are selfish and are only interested in helping themselves

A cynic might think that the governor visited the hospital just to gain votes.

From collinsdictionary.com:

cynic (Collins English Dictionary) noun

  1. a person who believes the worst about people or the outcome of events

Example sentences containing 'cynic':

He accused me of being too positive about people; I accused him of being a cynic.

Now when are you going to wise up and turn into an old cynic like me?


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