To elucidate a bit: I'm trying to find a word that means believing strongly in something and expecting others to believe in it as well. I've found words like "domineer" and "proselytize", but the difference there, as I understood it, is that those rather focus on the action itself of asserting one's will; what I'm looking for is more something like having a belief, not consciously enforcing it, but judging and criticising others for not thinking the same way. Is there such a word?

  • Kind of the inverse of conformist, which means someone who thinks the same way as other people? Hegemon is also in the ballpark but suggests someone who can impose their ideas and beliefs on others.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 9:10
  • I guess that it's a parental thing, something about teaching, to try to turn out the same type of kids, kids like the parents. Other than this, who could expect such? Corruption reigns, though, as a built-in part, or path of least resistance, of human nature. Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 21:43
  • One might take notice here of the difference between culturally expected beliefs and personally held beliefs. Often a culturally held belief is expected by the group, and some groups put substantial pressure on members to propagate the belief (sometimes even when blatantly false). Perhaps such a person could be called propagandist, but long standing or widely held, the belief may simply be expected of others without willful promotion.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 19:00

4 Answers 4


Presumptuousness is a reasonably close match that would work in many related contexts, though a hypernym. The adjective is defined at YourDictionary:

presumptuous: too bold or forward; taking too much for granted; showing overconfidence, arrogance, or effrontery.

Merriam-Webster has:

presumptuous: overstepping due bounds (as of propriety or courtesy): taking liberties

There are already threads covering 'unwilling to change' / 'hidebound'.


projection - the attribution of one's own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects

This isn't it entirely. I have not had luck finding a term for the logical fallacy of building an argument upon projection of one's own attitudes to others. Maybe projection combined with argumentum ad populum.


How about "prejudice[d]"?

From dictionary.com, the #2 definition of prejudice (noun) is defined:

any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable. (link to dictionary.com — "prejudice")

while the most common verb usage, prejudiced, is simply an act of applied prejudice. More commonly you'll encounter the identically-spelled adjective form (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/prejudiced). (But technically there is also an irrelevant legal verb usage, which is not the usage I'm suggesting.)

It's a bit ambiguous in your question whether you are describing an actual act (i.e., a conscious decision to take an action) or arguably a phenomenon of the mind and thus perhaps better articulated in noun form — "prejudice" [of the mind]. It's not a verb because it's an affixed, immovable opinion trapped in one's unconscious(?) Debatable!


(quite obviously) indeed suggesting "pre[liminary] jud[gement]" about something; with the quoted defined usage of the word given above further implying that the preliminary judgement(s) have already been "preconceived". That is, they are so strongly believed that they are deeply engrained — reflexive acts, thoughtlessly* held expectations.

(*There is no action; but rather a constant expectation, a thing, held as personal conviction and "thought to" oneself in private so resolutely that no further thought on the matter even occurs now, in actuality – though typically when confronted with prejudice, the receiving side is deceived or attempts at deceit are made to pretend that actual thought on the matter has occurred.)

Hence there is a flair of negative connotation to the word prejudice of course, in that there's rarely a non-evil motive which originally seeds it. But, I assume you couldn't possibly be looking for an entirely positively connotated word, judging by the undertone of your question, OP. However, I suppose that may be prejudiced of me!?

  • 1
    @JohnCollins, be aware that "Community" is an algorithm within SE. Click on the name to see details.
    – Peter
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 6:48
  • Don't you all think "prejudice" is the reason for the action, not the action itself? I suggest there is no such term, and even modern "group think" comes no closer than being almost the opposite. That is, "group think" seems to mean automatically thinking as others do, not expecting them to believe as one does… Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 22:35
  • @RobbieGoodwin The act of prejudice is in allowing it to remain... it's an interesting comment you've added, but I had indeed thought about that, and I do not see why prejudice must be separated at all as you have posited. The OP specifies they are looking more for a word which does not emphasize the action, but instead a word for something which is autonomically ingrained into someone's mind. They do not act it. It's both a noun and verb arguably because 1) it is an unconscious [thus involuntary] phenomenon 2) nonetheless it is still doing something by, in whatever way/intensity,.. Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 12:47
  • .. presenting itself to that person's inner mind / influencing indirectly their behavior / other actions / thoughts / etc. Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 12:47
  • @JohnCollins In this context, there can be no "act of prejudice". In a different context, one might act to "prejudice the outcome" and how could anything like that apply here? Again, "prejudice" is the reason for the action, which necessarily means it can't Answer the Question here. Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 21:39

...what I'm looking for is more something like having a belief, not consciously enforcing it, but judging and criticising others for not thinking the same way.

This way of thinking is characteristic of a self-important person.

self-important (adj.)

Having or showing self-importance m-w

self-importance (n.)

An exaggerated estimate of one's own importance : SELF-CONCEIT m-w

A sense, esp. an exaggerated one, of one's own importance; behaviour or an attitude originating in or expressive of this; conceitedness, vanity OED

Left unchecked, this protectionism can build into a false sense of self-importance, so much so that you may believe you have the right to expect others to allow your actions and beliefs precedence over everything and everyone else. D. W. Freeman; Sow Right: (Re)discovering Purposeful Living

Another person may lack a sense of humour because of his self importance. Such people take themselves too seriously. ...
In some cases they are quite ready to laugh at other people and criticize them because that raises their self esteem. J. Hadfield; Why Do We Laugh

Narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. They believe that they are superior to others and are unable to recognize other people's feelings. They expect others to go along with their ideas and plans. Finlay MacRitchie; The Need for Critical Thinking and the Scientific Method

Has a grandiose sense of of self-importance (e.g. exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognizes as superior without commensurate achievements). Jerrold Post; Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World

Such self important sacred men utter oracles, which they expect their hearers to receive with reverence, and they are offended when their hearers doubt what they affirm. G. L. Walker; The Idea of Being Free

At the same time, however, it is hard to overlook their rather self-important view that everyone will obviously agree with their selections. C. Bloom; Literature, Politics and Intellectual Crisis in Britain Today

And anyone who expects the entire world to adjust to them is obviously a little too full of their own self-importance. John Klima; Happily Ever After

  • I was thinking something like arrogant closed-mindedness, but self-importance is similar and more concise.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 19:38
  • I concede, however, that neither of these terms guarantees the part about criticising others. A person can be self-important or arrogant while not necessarily focusing on others.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 19:53

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.