I am looking for a word (or phrase if word is not possible) that is the opposite of associate. The context being when you have a collection of people and they are all part of a respective groups, clubs etc because that is expected but then there is one new person who is essentially independent. Once a person is already in a group/club then it is easier to get accepted into another one because their reputation is based on the group/club they were in before. But when a person is independent the collection of people in their respective groups/clubs etc are skeptical about accepting them because they are by themselves and therefore do not have a reputation established yet, similar to when you are applying for the very first job and the employer is skeptical about whether to take a risk and hire you even though you don't have a proven track record.

"Independent" is quite close, but I am looking for something less formal like "outsider" that you could use to describe a person compared to several groups of friends for example. I am also not thinking derogatory like "loner", but more like a "lone wolf".

Example sentences:

"I don't know if we can accept him/her, they are ________."

"We haven't accepted a _______ for a long time, the rules are they have to be part of another group for at least 2 years first."

  • Your parameters are all over the place. What does "lone wolf" have to do with first job other than that the person is an "unknown quantity" and won't have references?
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 19:15
  • @RustyCore can you make this an answer please and I will accept it.
    – FrontEnd
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 13:43
  • 1
    My first impulse is to say "outsider".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 17:45

5 Answers 5


Outlier — "a person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system".

  • I feel this one captures all of the aspects the best.
    – FrontEnd
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 5:32

I’ve heard “unknown entity” used in a similar context, but it feels a bit formal to me. “Maverick” might be accurate if the applicant is a bit of a loner who has some experience and a reputation of being successful doing things their own way.


Thank you for all of the context provided in your question. You might consider using "unestablished", "unfamiliar", or "little known" in your first example. The word "stray" would fit in your second example as someone who has deviated from "the usual requisite established course" of club membership.

"I don't know if we can accept him/her, they are unestablished."

"We haven't accepted a stray for a long time, the rules are they have to be part of another group for at least 2 years first."





People who are social and like to be members of groups are often called joiners. A person who is the opposite is sometimes called a non-joiner.


Maverick is particularly, but not exclusively, popular to American English.

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