I want to use in my ad poster "Be mild" slogan in the meaning of "Be calm."

Is "mild person" positive or negative characteristic?

As I know, a mild person is humble and meek — the opposite of bold. And some people use "mild person' in the meaning of dumb or stupid person.

Will you have associations with some boring or simple if you will see the "Be mild" slogan? Will you see something like "Be boring" or "Be simple"?

  • 2
    It is positive or negative in context. For a fighter, it would be a negative characteristic. For a negotiator or mediator, a positive one. But "Be mild" as a slogan just doesn't cut it. One never gives that advice: it is an observation of how someone is. Sep 26 '19 at 18:14
  • @WeatherVane: I can't really think of the expression in a positive light, even to a negotiator or mediator. I think the OP wants a different word, because Be mild reads like Let yourself get pushed around. Perhaps the OP is thinking of Be thoughtful.
    – jxh
    Sep 26 '19 at 19:49
  • I don't think you want to say a person is mild, everyone will think of peppers and suchlike. Be mindful is the Buddhist exhortation that comes to mind...
    – Lambie
    Sep 26 '19 at 19:59

I think you might be thinking of meek, meaning quiet and gentle but may also connotate someone as also being submissive, which can allude to being negative; however, a mild disposition can be negative or positive, depending on how it is perceived. A dog with a mild disposition is typically thought of as being a great attribute but a "mild" president with views on terrorism policy may be viewed as negative. You may want to think of other words that might be a better fit for your slogan - e.g., Other words to consider might include "humble," "kind," "gentle," etc. Also, think about combining stronger words to your slogan (e.g., "Be Strong, Be Gentle".. or "Strength is Humility, Peace and Serenity"


"Mild" isn't used to describe people enough for it to have any positive or negative connotation as the adjective "mild" itself is generally neutral, only having connotation when paired with a handful of nouns, like "weather."

As regards "people," some might infer that "mild" means calm or absent any outlandish qualities, but others might infer that "mild" means boring or bland. It would depend on context.

In your context, saying "Be mild" as a slogan on a poster, it's clear that you mean it positively. That doesn't mean that people, understanding what you mean, won't nevertheless scoff at it, especially people who aren't "mild," meaning with such a poster, you'll likely only be preaching to the choir.

Maybe you'd be better off using the adjective "mild-mannered," which does have a positive connotation as it approvingly describes one as being gentle, kind, and polite.


Mild tends to describe someone's disposition. Depending on that context, the description can be positive or negative. For example, in the 1950s TV series The Adventures of Superman, Superman's alter-ego Clark Kent is described as

Mild-mannered reporter for a great Metropolitan Newspaper (Wikiquote)

Mild in this case is a neutral or positive quality, indicating that he is gentle and kind. In contrast, the quality would be undesirable if someone were being criticized for passivity:

Henry was the oldest parent in the house, fifty-eight, a psychiatrist, a mild man who let life happen to him, let the people he loved talk him into things -- like cell phones or children or trampolines. (The New Yorker)

The issue with using it as a recommendation is that it often seems like a permanent trait rather than a cultivated one. Or, as Bill Louw and Marija Milojkovic put it in their corpus analysis of the word "mild" (in Corpus Stylistics as Contextual Prosodic Theory and Subtext),

Not only is 'mild' not very frequent when it describes people, but it also refers to a permanent personality trait, a habitually shown one. ... One may strive to be modest or resolute, but it is hard to see mildness as a character feature that is cultivated. Also, mildness seems to be a trait that exists in relation to other people, or is shwon in their presence. It is the opposite of violence, whether real or pretended, but it must exist in relation to others.

Whether mild is indeed set in stone or changeable is more a matter of psychology than usage; just know that it tends to be observed rather than instructed.

Even if it were possible to instruct someone to "be mild," but you leave your own recommendation subject to the interpretation of that individual. Can they really make themselves more mild? Some readers would disagree. Is making oneself mild desirable? That depends on whether they see passivity as a positive quality, and whether the situation calls for it. (Clark Kent the reporter should be mild; Superman needs to not be.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.