I am looking for a single adjective to describe someone who is easily discouraged.


Any person who is (easily discouraged) will not get far in life

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    @marcellothearcane I really don't think that's a helpful suggestion. User191110 is not looking for a reason for a person's discouragement, just a word to describe it. A person who is discouraged easily possibly doesn't try very hard, people with depression often find things overwhelmingly difficult, no matter how hard they are trying. – Spagirl Jul 3 '17 at 13:24
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    @iMerchant I always thought a Debbie Downer was a person who was negative about everything, bringing down the mood of others. I'm not from the US, have I been misinterpreting that? – Spagirl Jul 3 '17 at 17:15
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    "easily discouraged" is a good term. Why try to find a single word that will puzzle people? – Xanne Jul 3 '17 at 20:37
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    I'd be inclined to go the direction of "quitter" ... but other people seem to be going a different direction here – Tom22 Jul 4 '17 at 1:33
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    I'd say "me", but I'm probably wrong again. :-) – Eric Towers Jul 4 '17 at 19:22

11 Answers 11


Someone who is pusillanimous is one that lacks courage or strength of purpose.

pusillanimous, adj. 1. Of a person: lacking in courage or strength of purpose; faint-hearted, craven, cowardly. (OED)

If you want to include an element of reproach in your description you could call them a coward.

coward, adj. 1. A reproachful designation for one who displays ignoble fear or want of courage in the face of danger, pain, or difficulty; an ignobly faint-hearted or pusillanimous person. (OED)

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    As a side note, pusillanimous is where the slur pussy comes from when referring to a coward – Skidsdev Jul 4 '17 at 16:12
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    @Mayube: And as another side note, bulimia is where the term bull comes from when referring to claims like yours. ;-) – ruakh Jul 4 '17 at 16:33
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    @ruakh - I didn't know who to believe! But so I looked it up and the claim is indeed bulemic! "And despite what you may have heard, pusillanimous does not serve as the basis for pussyfoot, pussycat, or a certain related vulgarism." per Merriam Webster – BruceWayne Jul 4 '17 at 22:17

Taking discourage here literally (dis-courage), I suggest fainthearted:

lacking courage or resolution: timid (Merriam-Webster)


Quitters. People that quit doing what they're working on at the slightest bump in the road.

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    I don't understand why this isn't the top answer! In colloquial English, quitters are people who give up when faced with difficulty. This is the only answer which exactly matches the question and is in common use. – Josh Friedlander Jul 4 '17 at 9:22
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    @JoshFriedlander Probably because it's the latest answer, and because technically it's not an adjective but a noun. I agree with you that it's the most commonly used word, which is why I answered it, despite it not being accurate. From my experience with usability, what people ASK is not always what they WANT or NEED. – PixelSnader Jul 4 '17 at 9:49
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    When there's no need for an obscure word, don't use one. This should be a motto for [signle-word-requests]. – RichouHunter Jul 4 '17 at 13:29
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    @RichouHunter sometimes you do actually need a more specific one. However it'd be silly to consider only complex words. – PixelSnader Jul 4 '17 at 16:10
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    @NVZ: Quitter: a person who quits or gives up easily, especially in the face of some difficulty, danger, etc. dictionary.com/browse/quitter – Paul Johnson Jul 4 '17 at 17:40

Any person who is timid will not get far in life




Showing a lack of courage or confidence; easily frightened.

‘Once inside, things simply got worse for any shy, timid souls who plucked up the courage and made it past the front door.’

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    I'd associate timid more with someone who's quiet/meek rather than easily discouraged. – Joe Jul 4 '17 at 14:10

A defeatist is someone who very easily accepts failure.


defeatist NOUN

A person who expects or is excessively ready to accept failure.

I would work it into your sentence as:

"Any person who is such a defeatist will not get far in life."


Fragile is the best fit that I could come across

According to http://www.macmillandictionary.com, the word is:


getting upset or losing confidence easily

I agree that this is not the exact answer but this is the closest you might get.


"Discourageable" literally means easily discouraged.

Wiktionary entry

  • Unmotivated or Lazy

Is a reason other than being timid that could mean someone would not get far in life.


A bit more derogatory perhaps, but weak

a :  mentally or intellectually deficient
b :  not firmly decided :  vacillating
c :  resulting from or indicating lack of judgment or discernment
d :  not able to withstand temptation or persuasion the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak



Nouns generally make better answers (and better fit your use-case). @PixelSnader's answer of quitter is likely the best match to your description, having the same degree of generality and being a very common, well-known word.

However, if you're looking for a little more color (without sacrificing accessibility too much):

The best matching adjective antonyms would be perseverant or tenacious. Working back from that produces a bevy of choices of which these are a small sample:

  • vaccilant
  • listless
  • yielding
  • indolent
  • capricious
  • fickle (likely the most accessible option)

Any of these can also fit by using them as nouns. (i.e. The fickle will not get far.)


Someone who is not perseverant or persistent is relenting.

Often we see the "un-" negation of this word, as in unrelenting rain.

Someone who gives up easily yields or concedes, and that makes him or her yielding and concessive.

Someone who lacks resolve or determination is irresolute, indecisive, undetermined.

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