Preferably something that has a slight negative connotation since the character that is being described isn't the nicest person around. I've tried smarmy and slick, but those feel too "layman" for what I'm trying to go for here.

Much appreciated,


  • Welcome to English Language & Usage. It will help to show what research you have done to find the desired term. – J. Taylor Feb 22 '18 at 15:46
  • Please describe the character in some detail an explain why "smarmy" and "slick" feel too layman. What do you mean by "layman"? Someone who is not an expert? – Mari-Lou A Feb 22 '18 at 20:04
  • Please include the research you’ve done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. – Hot Licks Feb 22 '18 at 21:16
  • thesaurus.com/browse/persuasive – Hot Licks Feb 22 '18 at 21:16


1. Persuade (someone) to do something by means of deception or flattery.
‘we cannot inveigle him into putting pen to paper’

1.1 (inveigle oneself" or "one's way into) Gain entrance to (a place) by using deception or flattery.
‘Jones had inveigled himself into her house’
Oxford Dictionaries

verb (used with object), inveigled, inveigling.

1. to entice, lure, or ensnare by flattery or artful talk or inducements (usually followed by into): to inveigle a person into playing bridge.

2. to acquire, win, or obtain by beguiling talk or methods (usually followed by from or away): to inveigle a theater pass from a person

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.

See also Merriam Webster.

  • Looks like your link is messed up. – Laurel Feb 22 '18 at 17:01
  • I'm not sure if you realized this, but your answer still had some problems (formatting, missing citation). I have taken the liberty of fixing it for you. – Laurel Feb 22 '18 at 20:10
  • Inveigle is a great word, but it's not a synonym for persuasive because it's a different part of speech. @spoko already proposed inveigling, which is a bit of a stretch in my opinion, but at least could arguably replace persuasive in a sentence. – John Y Feb 23 '18 at 0:33

A more formal equivalent to smarmy would be unctuous:

: revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating, and false earnestness or spirituality [m-w.com]

And an alternative for slick would be suave:

: smoothly though often superficially gracious and sophisticated [m-w.com]

Other possibilities


: winning over by wiles [adapted from m-w.com]

beguiling [to me, this one seems closest to persuasive]:

: engaging in the interest of by or as if by guile • His seductive voice beguiled the audience.
: leading by deception • beguiled into ambush
: deceiving by wiles • had intended to beguile
  [all adapted from m-w.com]


: influencing or enticing by soft words or flattery
: gaining or getting by wheedling • wheedle one's way into favor
  [adapted from m-w.com]

To me, all of these carry at least a whiff of negative connotation.

  • Definitions? That would improve the quality of your answer. – Taryn Lambert Feb 22 '18 at 21:43


influencing or attempting to influence the behavior or emotions of others for one’s own purposes


serving or intended to control or influence others in an artful and often unfair or selfish way



I would suggest 'pushy'.

aggressive often to an objectionable degree : forward

Merriam Webster

'Pushy’ Olympic official kicked out of South Korea ‘brought shame on Princess Anne’

iNews 16th Feb 2018

Pushy man sends flowers to every pub in town after woman blocks him on Facebook

iNews 4th Feb 2018

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