What's the word for a type of person that responds to a compliment by complaining about it(as an attempt to deflect this compliment)?

e.g. Mark: Hey dude! Your new haircut looks pretty sick!

Dave(who thinks it's pretty good himself): Nah.. The hairdresser should've done a better job on the sides

  • Bashful or fishing for more compliments.
    – Ricky
    Apr 21, 2017 at 15:33
  • 2
    I think he may just be too modest and may not know how to take a compliment.
    – Jim
    Apr 21, 2017 at 16:27
  • 4
    Agree with @Jim. Modest, or maybe humble.
    – senschen
    Apr 21, 2017 at 16:30

3 Answers 3



Belittling or undervaluing oneself; excessively modest.


Self-deprecation is the act of reprimanding oneself by belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging oneself,1 or being excessively modest.2[3] It can be used in humor and tension release.[4]


Or maybe they are just humble and dont want to get a big ego...


Words that come to mind:

A superficial person who denies praise despite believing it to be true themselves.

A person with ostensible humility, when in truth their opinion of themselves (themself?) is high.

  • Thanks. Your suggestions are much better than what I'd thought of, lol.
    – Michael Ho
    Apr 21, 2017 at 15:51
  • 1
    A superficial person is someone who is shallow, or who does not or cannot intellectualize an understanding of something beyond what is obvious or visceral. People cannot be ostensible any more than they can be purported or supposed. Please explain why you believe these words would suit the questioner, and ideally include examples from literature or quality journalism.
    – choster
    May 2, 2017 at 15:55
  • You wondered in meta why this answer is being downvoted. Only those who downvoted can speak for themselves, but we can at least try. I think these two words don't fit the OPs request. Analytically, yes, both these share something about appearances which is implied by 'deflecting a compliment', but neither superficial or ostensible capture anything else about that situation, and that situation isn't primarily about appearances.
    – Mitch
    May 2, 2017 at 15:56
  • 2
    And on the other side, by intuition, neither of these words fits because deflecting involves deeper thought than connoted by the surface connotations of superficial and ostensible. So both words are just not appropriate and would be very misleading in the OP's situation.
    – Mitch
    May 2, 2017 at 15:57

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