Imagine someone who intentionally contributes work of such low quality and/or so slowly that their peers cannot help but to do this person's work so it is done correctly. An individual who intentionally employs a strategy of sloppy work and/or delay as a means of getting others to do it. What's a good word or phrase for best describing this person and the behavior / strategy?

Ideally, a single word, but a phrase would also be valuable, provided neither are vulgar.

Usage examples:

  • Fred, please stop being a/an________ because it is impacting team morale.

  • Sally is a/an ________ because she is intentionally working poorly knowing her colleagues' distaste for poor work quality compels them to do her job for her. It's unfair she's getting a free ride.

Words considered but discarded: slacker, slouch, deadbeat - too generic/non-specific about the specific strategy & behavior. Fail to connote the intentional strategy of getting others to do one's job by producing poor quality work.

goldbrick - is more about making excuses for lack of working vs. this specific strategy seeking others to do one's work

production deviance - is intentional ineffectiveness but not for this specific strategy's intended outcome.

  • 1
    @tchrist Please do not exercise editorial control over the site. That you don’t like questions for pejorative SWRs doesn’t give you license to unilaterally close them, and leave other questions of similar quality for the members to clean up. Reopen this.
    – Dan Bron
    Jan 21, 2018 at 19:25
  • 1
    @tchrist That is not for you to decide, it is for the consensus of the site to determine. If this question were asking for a positive term, you would not have closed it, and you would not be asking me if the word sought was an adjective or noun or anything else. That you do this consistently is you exercising editorial control over the site. That is not in the role of diamond moderators. Reopen this question. Let the community decide. Cast the 5th vote if you like.
    – Dan Bron
    Jan 21, 2018 at 19:34
  • Ok, the discarded terms were exactly the ones I was thinking. I think you're wrong discarding "slacker" but fair dues you have shown that you want a more specific term. (Bolding keywords will capture users' attention. To embolden a word or phrase place two ** on either side of the word leaving no gaps)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 21, 2018 at 19:55
  • I suggest 'mooch' has the wanted interference of taking unfairly from others, not just poor performance. Jan 21, 2018 at 20:08
  • 1
    @DanBron I'd suggest that the many comments are distracting visitors. Perhaps you could delete the ones that are no longer relevant? Please :) idem for tchrist. (?)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 21, 2018 at 23:52

2 Answers 2


I know a guy just like this. He is not ashamed of what he does. He told me that he deliberately serves up coffee and biscuits to the Board Room in a sloppy manner so that he will not be asked to do it again. All he does is done badly, so others have to follow him around, clearing up.

Left alone, his sloppy work will result in us losing clients, so we have no alternative but to follow him around, undoing what he does deliberately, in order for him to have a free lunch.

He is a parasite.

Parasites Are People Too. But that doesn't make them any less frustrating

Merriam Webster

The CDC definition is as follows :

A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host and gets its food from or at the expense of its host

Centre for Disease Control

  • Parasite seems closer, and a qualifier might help to articulate the strategy underlying the parasitic behavior. By doing so, I'm hopeful we can become more effective calling it out as socially unacceptable. _______ parasite, or perhaps parasitic negligence?
    – Bob Levy
    Jan 22, 2018 at 11:50

I don't think there's a single word for this.

I've always said the sort of person who deliberately drops something so he won't be asked to wash up again. As far as I know this dates back to some comic book or article. Probably something by Miles Kington or Michael Green.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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