I feel like there is a word for someone who is defiant of the rules, who has no regard for authority, but in a way that makes this seem like a good trait, not a bad one.

For example: when somebody has no problem stating that his boss is wrong. Or that is OK with not following a rule he which he finds is a bad rule.

Something you could say about your everyday heroic rebel.

What could this word be?

P.S. If anyone has read "Harry Potter and The Methods of Rationality" fanfic, the Harry Potter in that story has this trait I am looking for.

  • 1
    Maverick, Brave, Self-Assured, Free Spirit, Cowboy. – JBH Oct 6 '17 at 23:09
  • Maverick seems like an interesting fit. But I still feel like there is another word for it as well. ( the other suggestions were a bit more "exaggerated" than I was looking for ) – Guilherme de Lazari Oct 6 '17 at 23:19
  • “Assertive” might fit. – lux Oct 6 '17 at 23:22
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    Pioneer, trailblazer, innovator, bohemian, iconoclast (not a lot of romance with that one....) – JBH Oct 6 '17 at 23:25
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    A person who has the courage of their convictions seems to be the closest fit, but it isn't a single word. Confident, self-assured, and similar words capture the core of the meaning, but not the full essence of it. Also, consider certitude. – Laughing Vergil Oct 6 '17 at 23:47

You may try describing this person as independent or an independent thinker. As a matter of fact, entry no. 1 of the Oxford Dictionary for this is:

Free from outside control; not subject to another's authority.
‘an independent nuclear deterrent’

Independence is often viewed as a positive trait. A connotation of it is definitely to act without need of an aid, or self-sufficiency. It can also mean, however, having no regard to an authority other than oneself, and acting autonomously.


Ok, so it turns out that the word I was looking for was:


I realize this is not exactly a word with positive connotation. But I guess so many of my idols are deemed irreverent that I see it as a positive atribute. I also found a few definitions that make is more positive than negative:

If you describe someone as irreverent, you mean that they do not show respect for people or things that are generally respected. [approval] 1. She's irreverent, fun and hugely popular. 2. Taylor combined great knowledge with an irreverent attitude to history.

from: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/irreverent

And it seems that there are others who admire Irreverent people: https://medium.com/@matthewedanwoo/why-the-most-successful-people-are-irreverent-bc8bad88d272

I also found some of the suggested words very aligned with this idea, namely:

  1. Maverick (did not know this word, thanks @JBH)
  2. Confident
  3. Independent Thinker
  4. Self-assured
  • Upvoted - good word fit – Nigel J Oct 7 '17 at 1:03
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    Also consider: unorthodox and unconventional. Sometimes, eccentric is used as a euphemism for someone difficult to manage, but still considered a good employee. – jxh Oct 7 '17 at 7:56

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