I'm looking for the word to describe for someone who's so insecure about being the best, that they would go to great length to sabotage other peoples chances just to be the best.

For example, Lisa Simpson is known for this because whenever someone is better than her at something (music, school etc.), she'll get jealous and try to sabotage them.

Another example is Jerry Smith from Rick and Morty, who was willing to risk a whole eco system just to pretend he's right (pluto being a planet).

The word I've heard over the years was pretentious (attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed) but I discard it because I didn't see the sabotage others in it.

  • Please show us which sorts of words you've considered already but discarded. Please also use the word in a sentence.
    – tchrist
    Mar 2, 2019 at 2:46
  • I just add it, gave a full description and why I discarded.
    – Redsam121
    Mar 2, 2019 at 2:53
  • @KannE It would be great if you could include a link.
    – Lordology
    Mar 2, 2019 at 19:04
  • @Lordology - It's only a comment :) Mar 2, 2019 at 19:48

2 Answers 2


While it doesn't have the connotation that the person was in the top spot like your examples,


transitive verb

1 : to subvert or weaken insidiously or secretly trying to undermine his political rivals

2 : to weaken or ruin by degrees

Ultimately, the underminer is attempting to come out on top with their nefarious means, so it mostly works. It just lacks the connotation that the person has started there and is doing this just to keep their position. If that was just a side effect of the examples that came to mind, then there you go.


You can use the word "competitive" in a positive or negative sense - usually, if the subject is not sports-related, people will understand it to be a somewhat negative trait.

Someone who is willing to destroy others in an attempt to always 'come out on top' is often called a "backstabber" - but this also carries the meaning that they subvert others without their knowledge, (behind their backs) while pretending to be an ally.


  • Do you mean 'competitive'?
    – Lordology
    Mar 2, 2019 at 12:30
  • Sorry, coffee's not ready yet... will you edit, please, or shall I be Mother?
    – Oldbag
    Mar 2, 2019 at 12:31
  • Yep, will do ;)
    – Lordology
    Mar 2, 2019 at 12:33

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