Let's say I know a person that unabashedly engages in behavior that is seen as undesirable (but not necessarily immoral or eccentric; for example, someone that is very brazenly nerdy). I am specifically focused on this person exhibiting such behavior without embarrassment or regard for others' opinions, i.e. someone that is not afraid to stand out. Is there a word (noun) for such a person, preferably one without strong negative connotations?

Some words I think don't quite work:

  • "Nerd" (and e.g. "geek", "dork", etc.) suggests a specific behavior/trait that isn't correct for my usage, and doesn't usually suggest brazenness.
  • "Reprobate" has strong overtones of immorality. "Libertine" similarly has negative connotations.
  • "Rebel", "renegade" and "maverick" all suggest that the person is actively violating rules, which isn't necessarily the case (and, again, are often seen as negative).
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 17:41

2 Answers 2


I suggest a brazenface

= an impudent or shameless person

Free Dictionary

adjectivally: brazen-faced = Bold and without shame

Lexico Oxford

The word is related to:

brass neck = a type of behaviour where someone is extremely confident about their own actions but does not understand that their behaviour is unacceptable to others

"She's got a brass neck to ask for a day off when we're so busy"

Cambridge dictionary

The etymology is reasonably clear and related to:

brazen (adj.) Old English bræsen "of brass," from bræs "brass" (see brass (n.)) + -en (2). The figurative sense of "hardened in effrontery" is from 1570s (in brazen-faced), perhaps suggesting a face unable to show shame. To brazen it "face impudently" is from 1550s. Related: Brazenly.


  • 1
    All covered before on related threads (eg an adjective or noun for someone who has a lot of gall, almost certainly duplicates. brazen, audacious, brass-neck ... ... has a lot of nerve. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 15:50
  • @EdwinAshworth Thanks, but see my reply to your other recent comment. I don't think we will ever completely agree on this. For those asking questions, life may be too short to scour the archives of the site.
    – Anton
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 16:52
  • 1
    To put it bluntly, ELU is not intended to be primarily a Q and A site. It has higher ideals. There are Q and A sites where those not interested in observing such interests may freely answer without bothering about whether they're contributing to bloat. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 16:58
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth, I don't see any nouns in that question. Also, if ELU isn't supposed to be a Q&A site, it sure picked a strange platform. (What is it supposed to be?)
    – Matthew
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 3:23
  • @Matthew 'Brazenface' has appeared before, even though the free online dictionaries it appears in are Websters 1913 edition, and a citation of this warning that it might archaic or even obsolete. Google Ngrams show that it has occurred very rarely since 1880. // The question would be a duplicate were it not for the 'no overtones of immorality' caveat here (which probably means there will be no answers: 'impudent' and 'shameless' certainly indicate disapproval. // You omitted 'primarily', thus misquoting. One is left wondering whether this was merely carelessness. Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 15:31

An exhibitionist would generally imply someone who isn't shy, but generally implies a particular action which doesn't match the question.

A flouter is getting closer, but has similar issues as a rebel; it may imply that laws are being flouted rather than simply the opinions of others.

The best term may be individualist; in particular:

Someone who does as they wish, unconstrained by external influences.

Fear of others' opinions would certainly qualify as an external influence.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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