So, there's taking credit for someone else's work, and then there's a kind of credit taking that is merged with ego in certain way, and I'm trying to find out if there's a word for this.

It's when, say, a team of people do 99% of the work to get something done. Then someone else comes along, drops the last 1% in to make everything fit together, yet the person who only contributed the 1% walks away convinced that without them nothing would have been accomplished. It's the ego that you not only took credit, but believe that you swept in at the last minute, like a hero, and miraculously saved the day. However, the reality is closer to being in the right place at the right time, but if you hadn't shown up that last 1% still would have fallen into place, it just would have been someone else.

So ... is there a word for that specific kind of credit taking, combined with the ego that makes one believe they were the hero?

  • 2
    you might try self-aggrandizing : merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-aggrandizing I hesitate to give it as an answer because your question specifically points to "taking credit for others work" and the term is more like 'inflating ones traits"
    – Tom22
    Jun 2, 2018 at 21:51
  • Politician... while campaigning for elections.... :)
    – Ram Pillai
    Aug 21, 2020 at 14:42

3 Answers 3


Would an idiom do? "Steal one's thunder" might interest you.

Steal one's thunder: to grab attention from another especially by anticipating an idea, plan, or presentation
also: to claim credit for another's idea.

[Merriam-Webster dictionary]

  • 1
    This actually does combine intellectual property theft and attention-grabbing. It would be reasonable for OP to relax the SWR stipulation, when this would be a good answer. Hope he's still around. Aug 21, 2020 at 11:44

I know the phrase "has delusions of grandeur" would describe someone like this. You could shorten it to just "delusional", since that's what the person is. Also, "self-important" or self-aggrandizing" might be applicable.

  • Having delusions of grandeur hasn't necessarily to do with taking credit for someone else's work and bloating one's self-image. They (delusions) could be brought on by psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc., or they could be a defense mechanism against poor self-image. More often than not, the word has pathological overtones attached to it
    – user392935
    Aug 21, 2020 at 11:39

That is called "plagiarism".

As per Wikipedia: "Plagiarism is the representation of another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one's own original work. Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics. It is subject to sanctions such as penalties, suspension, expulsion from school or work,substantial fines and even incarceration."

It doesn't explicitly connote the latter part of your question but I believe it is the word your looking for.


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