Looking for a single noun that describes a person or group who is charming, gets in to trouble, but would have more positive than negative sentiment.

They were a bunch of ____.

  • 1
    The term I've heard in the context of movies and books is lovable rogue. It applies to characters such as Han Solo from Star Wars or Fonzie from Happy Days. You know, bad guys with a heart of gold. But it's two words. – Roger Sinasohn Jul 1 '17 at 7:34
  • You might regard them a 'victim of circumstances' in that they're always 'in the wrong place at the wrong time'. Neither indicate a malicious fault. – marcellothearcane Jul 1 '17 at 7:38
  • 1
    Also not a single word (not even two) but there's diamond in the rough as was used of Aladdin. To my ear rascal is close to what you want, but I'd prefer @RogerSinasohn's suggestion to either of these. – Steve Lovell Jul 1 '17 at 9:33

Word for charming delinquent people?

One word for such people is rake What is a "rake"

However a solid , single definition of rake is not possible Wikipedia . And, the term rake is not currently used as much as before.

Most likely a combination of words will be required. Rascal, rogue or miscreant with an appropriate modifier such as "likeable", "lovable" or "charming" will fit the bill.

I would not be shy, myself, to challenge a reader with the term rake. However it would be much better to use something like "charming miscreant" if the confidence in challenging a reader were lacking.


How about rapscallion? It might be a bit outdated, but it's a fun word:



archaic, humorous
A mischievous person.
‘they were the rapscallions behind this practical joke’

And, I'll add my earlier two-word suggestion of lovable rogue

Per Wikipedia:

The lovable rogue is a literary trope in the form of a character, often from a dysfunctional or working-class upbringing, who tends to recklessly defy norms and social conventions but who still evokes empathy from the audience or other characters. The lovable rogue is generally male and is often trying to "beat the system" and better himself, though not by ordinary or widely accepted means. If the protagonist of a story is also a lovable rogue, he is frequently deemed an antihero.

From TV Tropes:

A person who breaks the law, for their own personal profit, but is nice enough and charming enough to allow the audience to root for them, especially if they don't kill or otherwise seriously harm anyone.

Think Han Solo (Star Wars), Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly), Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean), etc.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.