From what I can gather, "resourceful" seems to refer more to someone who can use the available resources in efficient ways. I'm thinking more about someone who has lots of resources at hand (money, connections, information, etc.), but doesn't necessarily make good use of them. regardless of how well they use them.

  • edit: to clarify, I am not looking for a word describing someone who (purposely or not) makes wasteful use of the resources they have at hand. In fact, the use of the resources is irrelevant; I'm looking to describe only the existence (and abundance) of such resources.

  • edit 2: I was looking for something generic, to place in a sentence similar to: "when choosing the person to perform a task, one should take into account their skills, availability, and X", where X would ideally be "resourcefulness", but instead meaning something like "how good is their access to the relevant resources" (assuming resources could be various things, but mostly material and social).
    There doesn't seem to be a single term to define this, so despite many good answers, I'm afraid I'm going to have to go with "influential" (or, in the example sentence above, "influence").
  • It's the "doesn't necessarily make good use of them" that is the key here. But do you intend that this person knows they have access but squanders them, or that they don't even realize that they have access, or that they are naive in their use of those resources?
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 21:35
  • Ineffectual is along the right lines here, but it usually takes a modifier rather than standing alone: "Yeltsin proved to be ineffectual as leader of post-Soviet Russia." Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 21:57
  • @Jim and Wayfaring Stranger: your questions/comments are precisely along the lines that "resourceful" is defined: they refer to the use made of the resources, not to the fact that these resources are abundant (which is what I'm aiming at). Please edit my question if you feel you can make this clearer.
    – waldyrious
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 22:05
  • 1
    If you would like to make it clearer then I would remove the but doesn't necessarily make good use of them clause. And if that is your intention then rich seems to be the right word
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 22:41
  • 1
    Why not "their skills, availability, and resources"?
    – octern
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 6:22

9 Answers 9


For someone with money, "wealthy" is the obvious answer (and connotes various kinds of abundance).

For someone with social resources, "influential" or "well-connected." If you want to suggest that they don't often use these resources, but that people would do things for them if they asked, you might need a more specific term describing the nature of their standing, such as "respected," "popular," or "well-loved." If it's just because they're powerful, then maybe "powerful" or "important."

For someone with intellectual resources, a person who knows a lot of things might be "knowledgeable" or "widely-read," or they might be "a polymath," a "jack-of-all-trades," or a "renaissance man/woman." Or they could be "clever." "Clever" is sometimes used as a subtle insult (or as conspicuously faint praise) to refer to someone who has intelligence or problem-solving skills but uses them for trivial things.


Many of the most-appropriate terms are hyphenated pairs, rather than single words: well-outfitted, well-equipped, well-appointed, well-endowed, well-turned-out. Less-specific (but single) words include enriched, fortunate, moneyed, prosperous. In clover is a relevant idiomatic phrase.


l would describe then as "resource rich". Perhaps not the most elegant solution, but it avoids the alternative meaning of "resourceful" you are trying to avoid.

  • I was just thinking about commenting that the phrasing of the title was a little bit off. Thanks for editing!
    – octern
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 22:36

Acumen, sagacity (wisdom), adroit?


"Someone who has lots of resources at hand (money, connections, information, etc.)" is rich or wealthy, [well-]connected, and well-informed or knowledgeable (or more narrowly, well-read).

Also, a century or more ago, the French idiom au fait was borrowed by English-speakers to describe people "in the know"; that positive slant was lost when it became used by the "have-nots" to scorn the "haves" - today, you may see it used in this sense, but written ofay.

  • Just for balance, I have never encountered your latter spelling of au fait, nor the negative connotation. I frequently encounter it in its original spelling and meaning, however - the sense of being familiar with something. "I'm not au fait with this technology."
    – naughtilus
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 12:45
  • Au fait, in the sense discussed in this answer, is by no means universally recognized as the source of the slang term ofay. For a contrary interpretation, see What's the origin of Pig Latin?
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 5:29

While revisiting this question, I actually found words more fitting to what I was looking for.

In the example sentence I gave in the question:

when choosing the person to perform a task, one should take into account their skills, availability, and X.

...I would replace X with reach (the power of stretching out or extending action, influence, or the like; power of attainment or management; extent of force or capacity).

Additionally, it appears that wherewithal (the ability and means required to accomplish some task) would also be a good fit, as well as capability (the power or ability to generate an outcome) and its synonyms. But "reach" (to me at least) seems to be the one that conveys the desired meaning in most straightforwardly.


Someone who has lots of resources at hand (money, connections, information, etc.)" is privileged.

  • add citations to support your use of privileged.
    – lbf
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 22:48

The word(s) that comes to my mind: utilize, utility, utilitarian (is utilitarian a word? Did I even spell it right if it is?)

  • Please add a definition for your suggestions to support your word choice. Also, the asker was clearly not requesting a verb like utilize; you should ensure that your post actually answers the question.
    – Ted Broda
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 1:50

The word you may be looking for is "Polymath" - someone who knows a lot about a lot.


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