A real life example might be that when a flight attendant asks this type of person whether they want pretzels or crackers, they ask if they can have both. If they can't, it's no problem. They just like to probe and see what they can get if they want more than what seems to be available to them. There's an audaciousness about them in that many people wouldn't do that, but this person still has morals and doesn't necessarily lie or steal to get what they want.

These are my opinions, but opportunism ("opportunistic") implies a lack of morals and evokes thoughts of graft. Self-indulgence ("self-indulgent") implies excess, and maybe gluttony. Immoderation ("immoderate") has a similarly "sinful" tone.

Taking another path, the best antonymic phrase I can think of for this concept is abnegation, but it also seems to have a moral connotation (this time positive) of sacrifice and self-denial. An example sentence might say that "one who abnegates denies themselves of things they could otherwise possess, whereas a ____ person seeks to get things they may not have otherwise had if they didn't probe for them."

Is there an adjective for this type of person with a more neutral "feel" and definition? I have tried looking at definitions and synonyms of the words mentioned above (and others) in Merriam-Webster and through Google.


5 Answers 5


How about: a go-getter



an aggressively enterprising person.

"they went to great lengths to select a team of go-getters willing to learn about the latest in high-tech manufacturing"

Definitions from Oxford Languages


I have heard this type of person referred to as an "optimizer": someone who gets the most out of something.


The word assertive comes to mind, as does the (very American) proverb The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The kind of person that you're describing might also be called a go-getter, but that's probably more colloquial than you are looking for. Words such as (self-)confident and self-possessed capture something of the same underlying idea, even if they don't describe the specific behavior you mentioned as an example. Antonyms would include submissive, demure, and (of course) unassertive.


A gung ho person seeks to get things they may not have otherwise had if they didn't probe for them.

gung ho (adj.)

Very enthusiastic and dedicated vocabulary.com

Eager is to be gung-ho, excited, interested, pumped, anxious, impatient, and enthusiastic for something or to do something. Alison Boucher; 365 Days of Word Empowerment

gung-ho: eager/enthusiastic ∼ It's his gung-ho attitude that helps him achieve his goals. Lynne Walsh; English, The Aussie Way

I knew Jack was 'gung-ho' police officer and probably could not be restrained from more probing into the caller's background. Jack Caithness; Revenge Denied

"Some people might think our way of doing things is too gung ho for them. Okay, then don't work here. This is not a job for clock-watchers." R. Spector and P. McCarthy; The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence

Because he was so gung-ho, he got others to take him seriously and mentor him until he mastered all there was to master and began to produce startlingly original works. Gurpej Singh; The Mindset of Success


To Capitalize on opportunities . take the chance to gain advantage from.

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