If "mentor" describes someone that you learn important lessons from, and you are intentionally developing yourself towards their example ...

What would an appropriate word be for someone that demonstrates to you what not to do, and that you are developing away from their example?

The closest example dichotomy I can think of is hero v, villain.

Edit- Perhaps a better word for comparison is "role model"- in that you may not know them personally, but you are actively pursuing their example. The antonym I'm looking for describes someone who you do not want to be like- however this does not necessarily mean that they are a bad person, so these terms don't seem to fit;


  • 1
    What, exactly, would such a person do? Act as Inspector Javert did to Jean Valjean in Les Miserables?
    – Robusto
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 19:47
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    They are a bad example, but I cannot find a single word alternative.
    – Anton
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 23:01
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    I think the opening sentence is a bit confused. A mentor is someone actively teaching and advising you, not just a good example. Do you mean someone who's actively sabotaging you, or just a bad example?
    – Mary
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 2:55
  • Do you mean Dementors? I've read about them, but not enough to justify it as an answer.
    – livresque
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 3:21
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    "Bad example" is probably the best answer, and is used in this context; you sometimes see "antimodel"/"anti-model" but it's not in most dictionaries (it's in wiktionary).
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


I thought of the word, anti-mentor, because it sounded like, anti-matter.

"Why you need an anti-mentor​ in your life (and how to pick one)," by Anthony Sanni


  • You should clarify that you did not come up with this term, and cite the definition from the article. Are there other examples of this term in use?
    – livresque
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 3:25
  • Sorry. This is another spot that I see no use in further defining, etc, anything. Eg, English, math and physics are polarized or either-or, about money and points, etc. We've lost sight of the basic connections of things. What we do, etc, has meaning only within our own species, and within evolution, itself. I choose a mentor/anti-mentor who transcends both. We try to break everything apart. But, then, miraculously, well, it's all supposed to come back together in some branch of physics, namely, cosmology? Imagine this, a paid theory of everything that is called cosmology. Way too easy/hard. Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 14:04
  • ELU deals with standard usages. You're welcome to your fantasising, but please acknowledge that ELU is not the correct platform. Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 11:33
  • Am I, from a different perspective, not allowed to comment on standard usages? I recall that Aristotle mentioned the notion that doing one thing well does everything well. This ties in with my fantasy that also English language ties in with everything else. Of how little we know, for sure, given that one thing, for sure, could effortlessly lead to every thing else. But, still, there is no completed theory of everything. Without one thing, for sure, maybe, fantasizing is the proper way to hold one's grip on reality. Besides, why shouldn't persons fluent in a language consider what it says? Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 15:32

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