What word would describe someone who doesn't generally leave much of an impression on people?
"Bland" or "nondescript". Both have a connotation of not being memorable.
Of course, you could just go with "forgettable."
'Unremarkable' comes to mind. As does 'unimpressive.'
Simply "forgettable" or "unmemorable" could work. I quite like "nondescript" too, for someone or something without any distinctive qualities.
I'd suggest such a person would be called a nonentity.
Not quite an answer to the question, but "milquetoast" is a wonderful related word.
A person who is easily overlooked is often called a "wallflower", although that term has other connotations as well.
I'm not sure whether this applies to or makes sense in English. But the question reminded me instantly of a Japanese word. We call an unimpressive person Kagega Usui hito (影が薄い人) meaning person with thin shadow. The person doesn't have his presence even on his own shadow!
A Nobody, or as the Beatles might say "Nowhere Man" (check out the lyrics)
If I was was being poetic, I would call them "ephemeral" as in short-lived.
People who leave no lasting impression are shallow.
(Both literally and figuratively.) :)
A number of years ago I came across this book The Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendations: Positive-Sounding References for People Who Can't Manage Their Own Sock Drawers
Depending on your needs, it could be useful, e.g.
- The impression s/he conveys to others is no act
- He was with our firm a few years back, but I can't remember the dates he worked for us
- I can't remember ever hearing a colleague complain about her work
- I can't begin to tell you what a fine person she is.
To be more direct, perhaps I could suggest:
A person that doesn't leave much of an impression on people is commonly considered dull.
"Potato" comes to my mind. But you could flair them up by thinking of Mr/Mrs Potato head instead. After all people are not boring, it is our mind that makes them so.
A few more ideas.
Depending upon the context, forgettable may be the best choice.
"Ordinary" was one of my first thoughts.
Such a person could be described as an extra.
"Boring" comes to mind for me.
I'd actually prefer the term transient.