I'm looking an adjective that means someone is deliberately finding fault and playing up being offended.

Alice is... Quarrelsome? Captious? Fault-finding?

  • 2
    Get better friends.
    – deadrat
    Nov 27, 2016 at 0:58
  • 1
    In football this is called flopping, and in basketball it's called working the refs. In social situations, not sure. There is surely a word.
    – user31341
    Nov 27, 2016 at 1:04
  • 1
    Well, there's "touchy".
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 27, 2016 at 1:09
  • Your example is about someone determined to find fault not take offence. In which case this is a duplicate english.stackexchange.com/questions/255949/… Nov 27, 2016 at 12:48
  • So why did you submit a self answer with "Captious" then? That doesn't indicate anything about a specific individual. Nov 27, 2016 at 13:08

4 Answers 4


There are several words like quarrelsome, argumentative & confrontational (may be more) but the closest I can find to your (example) scenario is antagonistic. (See the example from ODO below which is pretty close to yours).




1 Showing or feeling active opposition or hostility towards someone or something:

‘He was rude and antagonistic to my friends, kept picking arguments and was often deliberately provocative, manipulating people into tense arguments.’

  • 1
    Antagonistic fits the bill very nicely.
    – Rudi
    Nov 27, 2016 at 10:51

Alice is a stirrer.

(Aka a shit stirrer or pot stirrer.)

Perhaps this is too general since it is not limited to the incincere offense-seeking


British informal. A person who deliberately causes trouble between others by spreading rumours or gossip.
‘Unlike Walter, he is a stirrer, a deliberately provocative commentator and a freewheeling iconoclast, infamous for his relentless critique of the American government and military.’


Although not directly related to taking offense, the two words that immediately came to mind were


adjective ​

often arguing or wanting to argue:




Opposing or rejecting popular opinion or current practice:

Contrarian fits less, but it summons an image of someone who wants to or is looking for an excuse to disagree with someone for one reason or another.

Alice is being intentionally arguementative or contrarian as a means of expressing her dislike of Bob.


You might say Alice is captious:

Tending to find fault or raise petty objections: ‘a captious teacher’

From Oxford Dictionaries.

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