I'm trying to make an analogy, but struggling to put in clear terms what I'm referring to.

What I'm looking for is a word, phrase, or common pop-culture phenomenon, of a creature or entity that will try to be helpful, but since it's pretty dumb, too often its efforts will be useless to the situation at hand.

It MEANS well, but it doesn't always understand what the person wants, but will nevertheless try its absolute best to be helpful, desperate for approval.

I wanted to say puppy at first, as it denotes the general level of intelligence and general feeling towards it of "It means well, you can't be mad at it!", but it lacks the helpful nature.

Is there a word or phrase that embodies all this? I have the feeling it should be a common enough trope, but I'm just drawing an absolute blank.

  • An ingratiating moppet?
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 17:55
  • I like well-meaning, as in TsSkTo's answer, but an additional word to round out a phrase might be even more fitting for your question. Something like "buffoon" or "oaf" might work, though they usually describe someone clumsy or thoughtless rather than foolish or unintelligent. "Incompetent" can work if used as a noun, but sounds a little clunky.
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 19:27

2 Answers 2



based on a desire to do something good but often producing bad results


  • I do believe the OP is looking specifically for a creature reference.
    – Hank
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 17:54
  • 1
    @Hank So Pixar's Minions? :P google.com/#q=pixar+minions
    – TsSkTo
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 18:00
  • Very much like those. But I'm not sure if "Minion" alone with have the right connotation. The OP may have to specify Pixar's Minions and it may not quite work in the given context. I do have to say that creature is exactly the type the OP is looking for, in my opinion.
    – Hank
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 18:00
  • Actually, Minion is perfect! This is not for a scientific publication, just a playful blog thing, and Minions trigger the exact connotation of "Really want to be helpful, just don't trust them with anything important". I'm going to leave this open for a while because i think it's interesting (because ofcourse I do), and later this weekend I'd be happy to mark Minion as answer. Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 18:18

Per @TsSkTo suggestion, Illumination Entertainment's Minions are creatures that are very obsequious and sycophantic. These loyal creatures are always striving to assist their master, but are very clumsy and accident-prone. This personality trait has led to the death of said master many times, as shown in the film Minions (2015).

Not to be confused with the evil Minions that were kidnapped and injected with the PS-41 serum by El Macho. These Minions were turned into monstrous purple who were completely unlike the yellow Minions.


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