I'm looking for a word to describe someone who is not an expert in a field, but wisely lets experts do the work for them. An example would be someone who owns a cool old car but does not work on it at all themselves, instead paying a trusted mechanic do all the maintenance for them.

My issue is that words like "novice", "naif", "ignorant", "beginner", etc. all have a somewhat negative connotation. But in many cases, it's smart not to try to do things yourself, so that connotation is inappropriate.

I've searched around quite a bit on Google and on here and haven't found much, but would be happy to be pointed in the right direction if this question has been asked. I think the closest I've come is "dependent" or "reliant", but those also have a bit of a negative connotation.

  • Where are you going to use this word? Jul 1, 2019 at 17:23
  • I'm trying to describe a category of bike enthusiasts. Some people like to work on their own bikes, but some prefer to just let an expert take care of maintenance. However, these are all people who ride a lot, so the words like "novice" don't really fit. I'll want to refer to this category multiple times in a presentation, so I'm looking for something punchy and trying to avoid using several words each time. Jul 1, 2019 at 17:26
  • There is an old saying that the mark of a professional is that they know the limits of their expertise, and that they value the expertise of others.
    – user205876
    Jul 1, 2019 at 21:26
  • “That’s above my pay grade” is the way some people say it humorously.
    – Xanne
    Jul 2, 2019 at 1:18
  • 1
    Note that SWR requests require a sample sentence - please hover your mouse over the tag to read what is required, then edit your answer accordingly so that your answer doesn't get put on hold. :-) Jul 2, 2019 at 2:06

4 Answers 4


What about the verb, "to delegate" / "delegator"? I.e. to assign responsibility and work to others?


Since you need something clear and concise, I'll suggest


DIY stands for do it yourself.

If you think your audience might not understand it you could explain it the first time you use it, but in the US people will understand it without an explanation needed.


Someone who is capable of making informed decisions when it comes to purchasing products would be called an "educated consumer"

From the Wikipedia article on consumer education

Consumer education is the preparation of an individual to be capable of making informed decisions when it comes to purchasing products in a consumer culture.

So, an educated consumer is someone who wisely lets experts work for them.

"As an educated consumer Susan chose Nancy to upgrade the engine on her car."

The term "shrewd consumer" adds more emphasis on good judgment.


Having or showing sharp powers of judgment; astute.

"A shrewd consumer has experts perform skilled work when it makes financial sense"


I doubt if you'll find a ready-made word that means exactly what you want. I'd guess that you need to devise a phrase and, the first time you use it, explain it to your readers. My suggestion for the people you describe: non-hand-soilers.

  • Thanks for your thoughts - I like your phrase! I'd upvote you if I could. Jul 1, 2019 at 19:02
  • Thank you for cheering me up. Down-votes with no explanation are as depressing as they are frustrating! Jul 1, 2019 at 21:35
  • @PhilipWood driveby DVs are certainly exasperating when they're not deserved (NB: it's not mine), but they're often given when someone provides a personal opinion rather than a well-researched and referenced answer. In fact, your answer is almost certain to be picked up by Stack Exchange's algorithm and placed in the Low Quality Queue to be reviewed for potential deletion. On that basis alone, an unexplained DV would be neither unexpected nor unfair: our voting system is designed to relegate low-quality answers to the bottom of the page. Jul 2, 2019 at 2:14
  • @Chappo. Thank you for taking he trouble to explain this. I'd argue, though, that this question did not call for research, but for imaginative thinking. My answer might well fail on this score as well, of course. Incidentally, I wonder what 'research' you'd recommend in order to answer this question. Jul 2, 2019 at 17:11
  • The OP’s failure to include a sample sentence and their conflicting adjective and noun suggestions makes their question hard to answer, and it may well be put on hold as a result. Good reasons to ask the OP to improve their post (as I’ve done) rather than trying to answer it. :-) Re SWR “research”, there are 2 stages: finding an answer, and presenting the evidence to support it. (1) if nothing is immediately obvious, think of words that broadly fit (manager? delegate? boss? self-starter?) and look up a dictionary and thesaurus for each, to clarify or find better synonyms.... Jul 3, 2019 at 1:26

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