I'm looking for a noun to describe someone who's against something. For example:

He's one of those people who oppose the idea of...

I know you can simply say "He's against the idea of", but I was wondering if there was any noun that I could use in this particular scenario. I thought about simply using the word opponent but isn't it more suitable in perhaps a competitive game context?

  • 1
    History might prove them to be either a heretic or a pioneer.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 20, 2018 at 11:39
  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/q/79125/14666
    – Kris
    Mar 20, 2018 at 11:55
  • Please clarify whether this person is in a minority and also whether they are routinely 'against' things (as a matter of habit/principle).
    – Dan
    Mar 20, 2018 at 12:00
  • 1
    @Edwin Ashworth - too quick close vote as usual. Not a duplicate, suggested context and implications are different. VTR
    – user 66974
    Mar 20, 2018 at 12:08
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth - the are two different questions, CV should be used judiciously. Anyway OP could at least receive a few helpful answers here.
    – user 66974
    Mar 20, 2018 at 12:35

4 Answers 4


I think contrarian may fit in the context you describe:

a person who takes an opposing view, especially one who rejects the majority opinion, as in economic matters.

  • He is a contrarian who frequently writes controversial opinion pieces.


From Etymonline contrarian:

Latin contrarius (adj.) also was used as a noun meaning "an opponent, an antagonist." In English history, contrariant (from French, from Medieval Latin contrariantem) was the name given to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and the barons who took part with him in the rebellion against Edward II, "because, on account of their great power, it was not expedient to call them rebels or traitors" [Century Dictionary].

  • ‘The writer who has most often and most powerfully made the arguments within the establishment but against its preoccupations is Christopher Hitchens, a man who adores contrarians throughout history.’ en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/contrarian
    – Kris
    Mar 20, 2018 at 12:03
  • i think a contrarian, does it as a sort of hobby, I may be totally wrong but urban dictionary agrees with me Someone who automatically tends to take the opposite point of view from the person to whom they're speaking, or to disagree with society at large out of a sort of knee-jerk reflex. Friend: I've got some ice cream, you want vanilla or chocolate? Contrarian: Um, do you have strawberry?
    – WendyG
    Mar 20, 2018 at 13:47
  • I like this answer a lot, although as others have suggested it seems habitual. A one-off is what I was originally going for. Mar 20, 2018 at 14:33

Depending on the context, you could use different options:


I very much like user2922582's answer.

Also maybe:

noncomformist (meaning is evident)

bohemian (has artistic overtones)

bohemian (usually lowercase) a person, as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices.

social gadfly (has political overtones)

A gadfly is a person who interferes with the status quo of a society or community by posing novel, potently upsetting questions, usually directed at authorities. source: Wikipedia.

  • Not nonconformist, not bohemian, at best, social gadfly maybe.
    – Kris
    Mar 20, 2018 at 12:05

Maverick might be a positive ish name:

a person who thinks and acts in an independent way, often behaving differently from the expected or usual way:

  • a political maverick He was considered as something of a maverick in the publishing world.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

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