I'm trying to find a word describing someone who refuses to perform an act of kindness, even if they know they're breaking societal norms.

The old woman fell on the ice and couldn't get up. To everyone's surprise, Bill kept walking, ignoring her outstretched arms and pleas for help. He's one ... bastard.

  • 1
    I'd call him heartless. But your description seems to emphasise breaking societal norms, a meaning which "heartless" doesn't necessarily carry. Antisocial on the other hand does, but I'm not sure it would fit the gap in your sentence. Antisocial: ADJECTIVE contrary to the laws and customs of society, in a way that causes annoyance and disapproval in others.
    – Zebrafish
    Aug 26, 2018 at 16:23
  • Inhumane, meaning lacking all human qualities like humanity, kindness, compassion etc., fits to be used in the context of breaking societal norms. Aug 26, 2018 at 17:09
  • What you can try to do to reopen is show the research that you did previous to posting your question. Then explain which words you discarded and why, because your question is too broad, there are many answers that could fit but "we" don't know what you are looking for exactly. what's wrong with "selfish", "egoistic", "mean", "cruel", "unfeeling", "spiteful" etc. etc..
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 26, 2018 at 17:59
  • You can use disregardful. It means: the act of treating someone or something as unworthy of regard or notice.
    – Ubi.B
    Aug 26, 2018 at 18:18

1 Answer 1



insensitive; indifferent; unsympathetic


a variation on the same theme


someone to whom sympathy is totally an alien concept


self-explanatory and quite apt in this case



On @Jason Bassford's suggestion:

If you're looking for an adjective that would imply some degree of departure from social norms:


A person who just doesn't like people very much.

If you're willing to part with the word "bastard" in this sentence, then:

He's one mean sociopath.

A person who doesn't get along with anyone.

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    My first choice was "callous", but I'm not a native speaker. Aug 26, 2018 at 16:55
  • @Magicsowon: It is, in fact, the obvious choice. However, "unsympathetic" has this ... uh ... understated quality, which would make the OP's original sentence more humorous than judgmental.
    – Ricky
    Aug 26, 2018 at 17:01
  • @Magicsowon But what does this answer have to do with breaking social norms—something you specifically asked for in your question? If you're not looking for a word with that meaning, you should clarify what you're after. Aug 26, 2018 at 17:02
  • @Magicsowon: Oops. Sorry. You're the OP. I seem to be awfully absentminded today.
    – Ricky
    Aug 26, 2018 at 17:02
  • @JasonBassford If there's a word like that, it would be better, because my character isn't even trying to hide that he's a callous bastard. Aug 26, 2018 at 17:12

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