1

I'm looking for a word for a child who was cast out, cast aside, ignored or discriminated against relative to other children, but ended up succeeding despite it all.

Used in a sentence:

Alice winced at the mention of Bob's name. Hearing strangers extolling her _________ brought more pain than even the thought of him lying half-dead in some ditch, before he had returned.

Notes:

  • Could be either a noun, or an adjective you can place before "son" or "daughter".
  • Didn't really have a good search term for thesauri (I tried thesaurus.com with "successful bastard" and "successful orphan")
  • Doesn't matter if it's a gendered expression or not.
  • I don't have obvious criteria for choosing the best word.
  • There is probably some name from literature that would work, though none is coming to mind. – Hot Licks Nov 2 '19 at 22:25
  • Oliver Twist, for example. – Hot Licks Nov 2 '19 at 22:53
  • Are you sure this is really what you are looking for? I think your question is literary rather than linguistic. At the least, a broader context is needed. From the quotation you give, it sounds as if the potential of the character has already been either recognised or even fulfilled. – Tuffy Nov 2 '19 at 23:50
  • @Tuffy: My question does not require the child's potential to not have been recognized in the past and recognized now. Also, there's the question of who recognizes that potential. The sentence is just an example; my question is what it is... – einpoklum Nov 3 '19 at 8:47
  • @einpoklum-reinstateMonica Then I doubt there is a single word or even short phrase for what you are seeking. But that is why you need to explain the background more fully/clearly. If you do, the right expression will probably occur to you before it does to anyone else. – Tuffy Nov 3 '19 at 11:31
4

Possibly "Prodigal son" or daughter, from the biblical story.

Resilience or resilient' would be a word to describe the character of the ignored child.

Alice winced at the mention of Bob's name. Hearing strangers extolling her resilience brought more pain than even the thought of him lying half-dead in some ditch...

| improve this answer | |
  • Not really, neither of the sons fits. Specifically, the prodigal son leaves of his own accord, not cast out; and has failed, or is penitent, or has remorse. Also, the prodigal son returns. I didn't say the child has to have returned - that was just in my example sentence. – einpoklum Nov 2 '19 at 22:47
  • You may want to remove the 'return' statement from your question, if it is not significant to the meaning. – NeilB Nov 2 '19 at 22:58
  • I did not mention "return" in the question itself, just in the example. – einpoklum Nov 3 '19 at 8:47

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