I'm looking for a word that describes someone that remains calm when others panic, specifically in a calamity or accident.

Example 1: Someone that is in an auto accident and they remain level-headed when others around them freak out.

Example 2: Someone that hold it together in a natural disaster while people around them break down into hysteria.

Possible sentence 1: "John is a ________. He kept it together when the hurricane hit."

Possible sentence 2: "Devin is a real ________. He was still calm after hitting that vulture with his Jeep."

(Before you ask, yes, I hit a vulture with my Jeep today.)


2 Answers 2


noun - coolhead

But the adjective is much more common - coolheaded

: not easily excited - a coolheaded response to the crisis

"Coolheaded." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.

It is often still hyphenated - cool-headed

Keep a cool head is a fixed idiom.

C2 to stay calm in a difficult situation: I don't know how you manage to keep such a cool head in such a hectic, stressful office!

“keep a cool head” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press

The ability to keep a cool head in an emergency, maintain poise in the midst of excitement, and to refuse to be stampeded are true marks of leadership - Robert R. Shannon

The first qualification of a general is to keep a cool head - Napoleon

so it is used as the translation for this idea in other languages.


There are several adjectives that could fit the bill.

Some examples are:

  • Level-headed. It's not clear that this is terrified, but it has the implications of calm and collected.
  • Phlegmatic is kind of similar, though perhaps even less implication of being afraid.
  • Courageous (subtly different from brave in the sense that it implies being afraid, but doing it anyway (at least that's how I've always understood it)).

But in the context of your question, these could not fit directly into your sentence example.

For nouns that fit into your sentence, you might try examples of people or careers where this characteristic is archetypically expected and use it metaphorically. For example,

  • soldier or trooper.
  • hero or star.

Again, these don't quite hit the mark. We may know that people in these roles are terrified in reality, but in the archetype, they often are not.

My vote goes for trooper, as it has the implication of pressing on in difficult circumstances when used like this, and fits your sentences reasonably well.

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