What is the word or a phrase for people who are unable to be categorized into groups or stereotyped?

Perhaps non-(something)

I am not looking for the word unique.

Thank you

  • Probably not even worthy of a comment because they’re usually (and understandably) found in “scare quotes,” but if it doesn’t bother you (or your intended audience) that “non[-]pigeonholable” or “un[-]pigeonholable” are not real words, you could consider one of them for a single “word.” For a phrase, with “pigeonhole/d/ing” in mind, you could consider “[being] impossible to pigeonhole”/“incapable of being pigeonholed”/”[not /in]susceptible to pigeonholing.” – Papa Poule Jun 15 '17 at 15:24
  • Often categorized as other. – jxh Jun 15 '17 at 18:47
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    If you are calling that collection of people something, you are categorizing them into a group, so they are able to be categorized. You're just looking for a generic name for the category, like "other". – fixer1234 Jun 15 '17 at 19:17
  • There was a whole movie series about this, Divergent based of course on a series of books. – Michael McGriff Jun 15 '17 at 20:22
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    non-existent as in, the concept does not exist in reality. I've never met anyone that I couldn't label. – Mazura Jun 16 '17 at 1:06

Consider outliers.


outlier NOUN

1.1 A person or thing differing from all other members of a particular group or set.

‘In groups it's often the non-expert, the outlier, or the person who isn't in charge who has the most interesting idea.’

  • "all other members", whatever group of which they are one. – Mazura Jun 16 '17 at 0:53

You can describe someone as being atypical (i.e. not typical), which means unusual (another word you could use). You can also say that someone conforms to a stereotype or social norm; if they don't then you can say that they are nonconformist, or unorthodox.

If someone exhibits unusual behaviours, you can describe them as idiosyncratic.

If someone stands out, or is especially noticeable, because of their being different you can describe them as distinctive.

If someone is especially unusual then you can describe them as being one of a kind (One of a kind : a person or thing that is not like any other person or thing) - thanks to @EnglishStudent for pointing this one out.

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    One of a kind : a person or thing that is not like any other person or thing merriam-webster.com/dictionary/one%20of%20a%20kind – English Student Jun 15 '17 at 14:45
  • @EnglishStudent Mind if I add that to my answer? – SteveES Jun 15 '17 at 14:46
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    you can do so purely because you asked for it! Go ahead and add it... – English Student Jun 15 '17 at 14:48
  • in AE you could also add "Outlier" and also the most common an "outsider" "a person who is excluded, or excludes himself, from some group; outsider" – P. O. Jun 15 '17 at 15:17
  • Very nice answer which gives some interesting choices for OP! I also remembered the expression 'broke the mould' as in "he is one of a kind: they broke the mould when they made him!" idioms.thefreedictionary.com/… – English Student Jun 15 '17 at 16:38

The most precise term for this, I think, is sui generis, which is Latin for "in a class of its own". It even has its own Wikipedia page. The on-line Merriam-Webster gives this example:

among history's greats Leonardo da Vinci is often considered sui generis—a man of such stupendous genius that the world may never see his like again


To add to the other answers: singular and one-off may be applied to people.


I think eccentrics might fit... unless you consider that labeling someone as "eccentric" assigns them to a group, defeating your requirements.


Given that stereotypical is the best way to describe people that fit into a group, I would simply say non-stereotypical.

I'm a bit surprised no one has mentioned this so far. It should be the obvious answer.


Sounds like ineffable might work.

ineffable |inˈefəb(ə)l|
too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words: the ineffable natural beauty of the Everglades.

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