I'm looking for a word that describes a person who desperately wants to make things right.

Like a person who would go to their physical and mental limits and even beyond, just to make sure everything's okay. A person who is so devoted (or maybe obsessed is a better word) that it is obviously dangerous, but they're too self-unaware to notice.

I'm not asking for a word for someone who's dependent, however. They would be just fine on their own, but when there's a problem, they'd do ANYTHING to make things right.

An example sentence could be "He's such a ___. He'll probably get killed trying to save everyone."

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, Davo, NVZ, Skooba, Phil Sweet Sep 26 '17 at 2:05

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • You might like the word conscientious (although you'd need an extra word to make it work in that sentence); so, maybe look for related words to that one, or use a different sentence ("He's so conscientious. …"). Also, I think people sometimes call such a person a Dudley Do-Right, but I could be wrong (that might have other meanings, too). You might also like words like boy scout, or the name of someone who is known for being that way. Zealot or extremist might describe such a person (although you would need to indicate what they're zealous or extreme about). – Shule Oct 20 '17 at 0:27

Noun: do-gooder 'doo'gû-du(r)

Someone devoted to the promotion of human welfare and to social reforms

  • humanitarian, improver

Derived forms: do-gooders

Type of: benefactor, helper

-- WordWeb

  • Oh, gosh. No, Drew. Being a do-gooder has nothing to do with either desperation or making things right. Broadly, a do-gooder decides that this, that or the other people need improvement, and attempts to push it upon them, regardless of their desires, actual needs or even pride. – Robbie Goodwin Sep 25 '17 at 19:33

I'm not aware of any word that describes the person, but there is the idiom "to play the hero".

He loves to play the hero. He'll probably get killed trying to save everyone.

In my experience to say this comes off as dismissive and sort of implies the person just wants attention/recognition, though usually not maliciously. If you're looking for something that casts the person in a positive light, I don't think this would work.

  • Metaphorically speaking, I think just plain 'hero' works, actually—at least in the example sentence. When someone says "He's such a …" it's not uncommon for what follows to be metaphorical, an exaggeration, or sarcastic, IMO. (Although I don't want to promote sarcasm or exaggeration.) – Shule Oct 20 '17 at 0:51

As the moderators wisely indicated, it is rather difficult to provide a definite answer.

Approximations could be an eager beaver or a live wire -- though not all dictionaries agree with the exact nuance of that latter phrase (unpredictable, aggressive, interesting, etc.).

But perhaps the closest would be control freak, which fits this description:

They would be just fine on their own, but when there's a problem, they'd do ANYTHING to make things right.

Indeed a person with such a trait would not be dependent on others. The term would convey the idea of obsession, the dangerous character of this behaviour, as well as the self-unawareness.

The sample sentence would thus make sense:

He's such a control freak. He'll probably get killed trying to save everyone.

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