Basically I'm looking for an adjective that describes someone's personality. That they are alright, fine, ok, that they're not hurting when in fact they're in emotional pain or very upset, but they act like they aren't for the sake of others.

I'm aware of the expression, but I'm looking for a single word that could be used as a descriptive personality trait. I want it mostly in a negative connotation, because it's a defect within the character's personality. They do this to the point where they literally harm themselves on an emotional level.

And I've considered stoic, but it doesn't quite fit with the vibe of the character. Rather then remain calm or impassive, they hide their pain under all good cheer - acting as if they are happy rather then in pain. They are the kind of character that would rather pretend nothing is wrong, and that everything is happy and alright, if only to hide how severely dependant they are.

Primarily used for single-word personality trait needing roleplays.

However, an example would be ''That person is the type of person who x ''.

Further example: ''That person is enthusiastic, but I know they're also x''

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    The usual expression is 'put[ting] on a brave face'. Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 11:23
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    @tchrist I know you're not a fan of pejorative language, but it's a bit unfair to instantly and unilaterally close this question, but leave the janitorial work on "Is 'Noid' a real word?" up to the community. It's not fair to have your cake and eat it too. Anyway, the question has been edited to fit the letter of the guidelines (though it already had met them in spirit), so it's time to re-open it. I've already cast my vote.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 11:34
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    @PerfectFallacy The word you are looking for is stoic or one of its synonyms. Alas, speaking of suffocating rules, you tripped over one in the original formulation of your question here, which gave a moderator an excuse to close a type of question he is biased against, so I can't offer an answer proper (though, if I'm being honest and talking about personal flaws, I would have likely simply left a comment in either case).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 11:52
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    @PerfectFallacy TVtropes call such characters Stepford Smilers and uses words like "masked". Maybe that's a place to start.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 12:01
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    Is "the expression" you allude to in "I'm aware of the expression" in paragraph 2 the one that @EdwinAshworth suggested in the comments ('put[ting] on a brave face')? I'm pretty sure it is, but maybe you could consider specifically repeating that expression (& maybe any others that you're familiar with [eg, 'suffer[ing] in silence'?]) in the question itself, just in case the comment(s)/expression(s) is/are removed. Also, is the reason behind this trait really "for the sake of others" (which kind of makes it sound positive) or could it be "for the sake of appearances"? Anyway, good question!
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 15:20

8 Answers 8



: accepting, doing, or dealing with something difficult or unpleasant without complaining


Further example:'That person is enthusiastic, but I know they're also in denial."


7. Psychoanalysis. The suppression (usually at an unconscious level) of a painful or unacceptable wish or of experiences of which one is ashamed. Now also in more general use, esp. in in denial (originally and chiefly U.S.). Cf. resistance n. 5.

1992 Village Voice (N.Y.) 8 Apr. 25/1 ‘You're living in denial. Abortion is killing your baby.’ He sounds the pro-lifers' warning of never-ending guilt, as if morality were mere avoidance of pain.

Denial Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster https://www.merriam-webster.com › dictionary › denial refusing to admit the truth or reality of something unpleasant a patient in denial about his health problems.

DENIAL | meaning, definition in Cambridge English Dictionary https://dictionary.cambridge.org an unwillingness to accept that something unpleasant is true: He's still in denial about the break-up of his relationship.

  • "they hide their pain under all good cheer" — The question seems to be describing someone who hides their pain from others, not someone who's subconsciously blocked the idea that they're suffering entirely.
    – Laurel
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 16:08

I realize that this may not be what you're looking for, but it seems to me that the easiest adjective for someone who claims to be fine while is, in fact, hurting, is quite simply, a liar.

  • I agree, liar might seem very simple to use. But on the other hand, that use is easiest when there's an explanation attached to it. For example, if you called someone a liar, most people would not assume that they're only lying about their own emotional well-being. They would assume that they in fact, lie about everything. And unfortunately, as it's only a one word trait list, that's what would end up happening, and it's not the effect I wish to have. But it is definitely a good suggestion if I have permission to elucidate! Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 18:00

Ignorant might work, if they're ignoring themselves. Maybe, is there a word for the opposite of self-absorbed? Because, like, they wouldn't think about themselves a lot, and rather say they were fine so that they could instead focus on others? I looked on Thesaurus for antonyms of 'obsessive', and I found 'humble'. So that could work too, maybe.

  • Could you include links to dictionary definitions of the specific word(s) you're suggesting? Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 10:23

Faux- as a modifier would do the job along with whatever quality this character is falsely trying to display. This has the added benefit of capturing a negative evaluation of the character, as opposed to stoic which is fairly neutral. The most natural choice for my North American tongue would be copacetic yielding faux-copacetic. It's not the most traditional of character traits, sure, but I'd say it has a nice ring to it.

There's Bob with his shit-eating smile and faux-copacetic attitude.



Definition of suffer in silence : to suffer or be unhappy without saying anything

Please Note: While 'silent martyr' is an apt term, I think sometimes the person doesn't complain from feelings of being unworthy of consideration.


The silent martyr is a role we’ve all played at one time or another. It’s a manifestation of the idea that you’re somehow virtuous because you bear more burden than others around you. You work harder, put up with more, take on greater challenges, suffer more, care more about important causes, and so forth.


I was looking for the same word. There is a pessimist for negativity, an optimist for positivity, and a realist for some who sees things for what they are. We want the term for the person living in the fantasy world where everything is ok. Maybe the idealist is more of what you are looking for. Someone who wants everything to be ok.

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    An idealist isn't necessarily living in a fantasy world or trying to deceive others, so I don't think that's a solution here. Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 13:01

Stoic: a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining.

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    You should cite the source of your definition. Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 21:58
  • Hi, bromn. The OP mentioned stoic and why it didn't work. Please take a moment to tour the site and see the helpful help center.
    – livresque
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 23:56

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