11

I mean someone who acts regardless of his/her feelings, according to what's the best option. I mean tough choices where your brain dictates something but your feelings might say something else.

I'm looking for an adjective that describes a character in a story. The woman leaves her twin baby daughters in a roadside in China because they had better chances of surviving there than if she carried them along - we're talking during the Japan invasion of China.

  • 1
    I'm looking for an adjective that describes a character in a story. The woman leaves her twin baby daughters in a roadside in China because they had better chances of surviving there than if she carried them along - we're talking during the Japan invasion of China. – Maria Nov 23 '16 at 14:49
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    I'd recommend adding a sample sentence and the 'single-word-request' tag, so your question reaches better-suited users – Irhala Nov 23 '16 at 14:53
  • Level-headed. But hold on, that sounds like the plot of the Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. – aparente001 Nov 24 '16 at 3:03
  • I can't answer due to rep limit, but unflappable seems apt to me. – bcrist Nov 24 '16 at 15:41
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    So, er, you want an adjective that means "cool-headed". What's wrong with... "cool-headed"? – David Richerby Nov 24 '16 at 20:16

12 Answers 12

19

I'd go with pragmatic. Since you mentioned "someone who acts regardless of his/her feelings, according to what's the best option", pragmatic seems fitting. Though a pragmatic person needn't always cast aside his/her feelings.

In the situation that you've mentioned,

[A] woman leaves her twin baby daughters in a roadside in China because they had better chances of surviving there than if she carried them along.

the woman can be described as being "rational".

Someone who is rational chooses the best possible way out of a problem. Wikipedia explains rationality as:

the quality or state of being reasonable, based on facts or reason. Rationality implies the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons to believe, or of one's actions with one's reasons for action.

Unsentimental can also be used.

Unsentimental

  • facing facts or difficulties realistically and with determination

  • not tending to indulge the emotions excessively

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    Also perhaps "unemotional" in a decision making context. – BruceWayne Nov 24 '16 at 23:29
11

Several suggestions:

Dispassionate

not influenced or affected by emotions

Calculating

marked by prudent analysis or by shrewd consideration of self-interest

6

A Stoic, from the philosophy of Stoicism, is someone who tries to be indifferent to external things and bases their decisions on reason rather than emotion. I think the terms logical or rationalist apply here as well.

Also the fictional character Spock in Star Trek is a really good archetype, he was a Vulcan and "they are noted for their attempt to live by logic and reason with no interference from emotion" [Vulcan on Wikipedia]

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    Ah, just beat me to stoic. I'll pull it from my answer. – talrnu Nov 23 '16 at 18:19
  • Sorry, about that.:) I was surprised that the word stoic wasn't an answer yet – Korey Hinton Nov 23 '16 at 18:23
6

Stolid comes to mind:

Stolid:

Calm, dependable, and showing little emotion or animation

Often used to describe heroic figures standing firmly in the face of danger, unwavering while normal folk might cower or flee.

For that matter, you might also want to consider unwavering.

Unwavering:

Not wavering; steady or resolute

3

You could say that she has ice (water) in her veins. This term is typically applied to sports situations where a player is under extreme pressure and acts cool-headed, but I think it might work well in the situation you describe.

For example, from a news report:

Florida State kicker Ricky Aguayo has ice water in his veins and he made sure to let everyone know about it after connecting on a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against Ole Miss to extend the Seminoles' lead.

  • Ice is correct theme. Quote from Top Gun, "You wanted to know who the best is? That's him. Iceman. He flies ice-cold. No mistakes." The character is a contrast to the emotional Maverick character. – Jason Pyeron Nov 25 '16 at 12:18
3

Calm and collected, or just collected. According to Oxford, collected means "calm and self-controlled."

‘The captain, surely a typically calm and collected Norwegian, knows that some of the refugees will commit suicide if he turns towards Indonesia.’

‘Nevertheless, a cool, calm and collected Michael started the engine, grabbed a gear and shot off down the road.’

2

I would say selfless - Concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own

2

The word that came to mind for me is objective.

Based on facts rather than feelings or opinions; not influenced by feelings.

0

I thought about dispassionate (mentioned elsewhere), but that doesn't quite seem to cover this. It seems like there would be HUGE amounts of passions involved.

How about sangfroid?

self-possession or imperturbability especially under strain

or

the ability to stay calm in difficult or dangerous situations

0

How about

Sedate:

(a.) Undisturbed by passion or caprice; calm; tranquil; serene; not passionate or giddy; composed; staid; as, a sedate soul, mind, or temper

Or its synonym, Staid:

(a.) Sober; grave; steady; sedate; composed; regular; not wild, volatile, or fanciful.

0

equanimous

having or showing equanimity; even-tempered:

It was difficult to remain equanimous in the face of such impertinence.

from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/equanimous

where equanimity means

mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.

from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/equanimity

Also see Wikipedia.

0

Both "self-sacrificing" and "sacrificial" seem to fit very well.
Sacrifice contains the images of value to giver and recipient and loss and in this case certainly grief and sorrow on the part of the mother.

"Selfless" is good (mungflesh got there first)

Self-deprecating / effacing

With an eye to the future. With an eye to the greater good.

More general:

Measured

Nerves of ice.

Nerves of steel.

A steady hand on the tiller (or wheel)

Cool under fire.

A handy (wo)man in a storm / fray / emergency ...


"Even tempered" - Diamond python beat me to it.

"Self-controlled" - but Juan beat me to it :-)

protected by tchrist Nov 24 '16 at 12:42

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