I want to know a word or a phrase that would describe a person who "intentionally" (because some people hate themselves even when they don't want to, or some people are insecure - making some generalizations, forgive me if I miss out something.) insults themselves to make others try to make them feel better by complimenting them. Here is an example of a conversation :

A: Hello B, how is it going?

B: Nice. I just wish my purple dress didn't make me look even uglier.

A: That isn't the case babe, I think you are amazing. You are really soo beautiful.

B: NO I am HIDEOUS, and I know it, don't lie to me.

A: No, I promise. I won't lie you're my BFF. You Rock girl.

  • I found one word on google search: shuckster. But that isn't well known not even as a slang. I would really prefer a word that is in the dictionary if possible.
    – Astha
    Jun 6, 2020 at 15:09
  • If 'Word for person who looks for flattery' is deemed not to be a duplicate, then answers such as 'fishing for compliments' must be deemed too hypernymic also. Perhaps word for someone intentionally punishing self to get reactions ... pity is not quite close enough either. ('Martyr' is offered here.) Or person who brags about difficulties. Jun 6, 2020 at 16:25
  • Thanks a lot. But I don't think my question is an duplicate ... Because I asked a word for someone who insults themselves for flattery. A person mentioned a word "fishing for complimemts" that I can use. The link you provided is useful but this is for someone who wants sympathy ... Not flattery .
    – Astha
    Jun 7, 2020 at 16:24
  • The principle is that 'fishing for compliments' has been given before in very similar threads, and ELU's aim is to present a comprehensive repository of sound English advice, not to give an answer to every slight variation on a query. It would become hopelessly bloated, and people would spend much time trying to find the suggestion 'fishing for compliments' say. Note that a moderator has now closed the question. But you have the answer you requested! Jun 8, 2020 at 11:02

3 Answers 3


The idiom for what she is doing is fishing for compliments

to try to get people to say nice things about one

So compliment fisher would be an intelligible phrasing.

  • Apparently, this is considered not precise enough by at least one moderator; the exact same answer was given at a ... parallel ... thread. Jun 6, 2020 at 16:21

There is an alternate usage of martyr that could apply.

"a person who feigns suffering to gain sympathy, help, etc" vb (tr)

(usage is facetious or derogatory)

  • Pretty good, if youhave a link to the source dictionary for that meaning, it would improve your answer to edit and add it. Jun 6, 2020 at 17:20

Compassion extortionist, praise burglar.

This is what called passive-aggressive behavior, but it could be unintentional.

  • There are 3 hits in a Google search for 'compassion extortionist', two are false positives and one is this post. ELU deals with established usages. Jun 6, 2020 at 15:50
  • "ELU deals with established usages" Sorry, I don't knew it.
    – john c. j.
    Jun 6, 2020 at 15:52

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