I’m looking for a noun to describe someone who “acts on emotion primally”, or something similar.

To clarify, I’m trying to make a point about how the fanaticism of tech-fetishes (iPhone fanboyism and the like) causes people to forgo rational, sometimes even calculated, intelligent responses to criticism. Instead, people lose themselves in irrational, primal competitiveness and negativity; responses near involuntariness and waste potential value.

If any further context is desired, please let me know.

I think the closest word I’ve come to is primal, but I’d really like a noun and I’m not sure primal is as precise as it could be anyway.

Bonus: If you have a good antonym for the word that describes what I’m trying to say (so it’s more along the lines of what I mentioned as rational, calculated, intelligent) I’d love to hear it.

  • 2
    It's obvious: the noun form of primal is primate. Doesn't that describe them accurately? – SigueSigueBen Dec 8 '11 at 4:50
  • I guess. I like what burhan said below, though. Primal was not precise enough in the first place. – Qcom Dec 8 '11 at 7:25
  • I said it as a joke since to English speakers the word primate mainly brings monkeys to mind. – SigueSigueBen Dec 8 '11 at 17:55
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    SigueSigueBen is suggesting that Apple makes a monkey out of people. (Perhaps you're not familiar with the idiom.) – Gnawme Dec 8 '11 at 18:12

You asked for a noun but then mentioned some adjectives, so I'm going to suggest visceral, which describes a 'gut response' as opposed to a reasoned, or cerebral, response.

  • 2
    I agree with visceral. Primal implies instinctive; not emotive. – Burhan Khalid Dec 8 '11 at 5:49
  • These two are near-perfect, I'll live with the adjectives haha. Thanks man! – Qcom Dec 8 '11 at 7:24
  • @BOSS if it's correct, could you mark it as such? With the big greek tick? – Pureferret Dec 9 '11 at 11:59
  • @Pureferret I was just making sure that no other great answers came along but I am quite satisfied with this and have accepted it. – Qcom Dec 9 '11 at 23:15
  • Sorry to have nagged, I've seen too many good answers being only unofficially accepted. – Pureferret Dec 10 '11 at 0:06

Your question contains the answer: the person you describe is a fanatic:

a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics


You could use evangelist although it implies that they are trying to "spread the word" rather than just blindly follow their beliefs. There must be another religious term that works, but I haven't thought of it yet.

  • 2
    I think you're thinking of zealot. – Gnawme Dec 8 '11 at 18:13
  • That most certainly is along the lines that I was thinking. – SigueSigueBen Dec 8 '11 at 18:18
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    They are coming now: devotee or perhaps even acolyte, if it isn't too esoteric a term. – SigueSigueBen Dec 9 '11 at 16:53
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    An evangelist would also proselytise. – 5arx Aug 2 '12 at 21:29

Given OP's specific context, you might call them fetishists. A fetishist's passion is characterized as being compulsive and irrational.

Alternatively, you could refer to them as the possessed or junkies, as their actions no longer seem to be in their control.

As for antonyms, I'd pair fetishist & connoisseur (given that everyone in your example seems pro-tech), the possessed & the clear-headed, junkies & the sober.

  • I like the explicit comparisons you drew here. Thank you for that! – Qcom Dec 8 '11 at 7:24

I do not think there is a specific term for a person who acts, not on reason, but on emotional impulse. the adjective impulsive fits your question, so I suggest impulsive person.


Apple fanboys would say they are passionate about that company's products. Some are monomaniacal or over-zealous or fervid.

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