A friend of mine said that he was a cynic. I had told him that he was giving up too easily. In this situation, the worst case outcome was rejection, which logically speaking, was equivalent to not trying in the first place.

I want to say, "No, you aren't cynical, you are X," or "No, you aren't a cynic, you are a(n) X."

The closest I can come up with is unmotivated or intimidated.

What word describes a person who gives up too easily?

8 Answers 8


A defeatist expects to fail, and therefor, either does not try at all or tries in a half-hearted manner.


"No, you aren't a cynic, you are a quitter."


You can say they're faint-hearted or faint of heart ("faint heart never won fair lady"), or simply too yielding.


The word is Pusillanimous

Dictionary.com describes it as follows

pu·sil·lan·i·mous   [pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muhs] adjective

1.lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid.

2.proceeding from or indicating a cowardly spirit.

  • 2
    I like this word. It doesn't quite describe the "giving up easily" part. I could say, however, that he is a pusillanimous quitter.
    – corvec
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 15:00

Another alternative is to say he's a wimp.


A person who is demoralized may give up easily. You wouldn't typically use it without some reference to what caused it however.


Sounds like your friend is being chicken.

You could also say he chickened out.

If he's a really close friend, you might even call him chickenshit.

  • but afraid of doing something is very different from giving up upon failure.
    – Gapton
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 14:35

Or, you might bide your time a bit, and when your friend starts making specific excuses, you can then spring the proverb on him, "Argue for your limitations, and they are yours."

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