I am looking for a word that describes a person that "pushes over a pushover". I have now a 'manipulator', but I feel that that word carries an unnecessary strength with it. A pushover only needs a push, while a manipulator gives a shove. The word Manipulator has too much of a negative connotation surrounding it and it feels too harsh. I am not looking for it to be offensive. - a weaker term than manipulator


3 Answers 3


You could say that the pushover was putty in that person's hands.

The Free Dictionary defines "putty in (one's) hands" as:

Easy to control or bend to one's wishes


I’m not sure someone who pushes a pushover should get off so lightly, but you could try motivator:

motivator noun
: one that motivates or impels someone or something

impel verb
1 : to urge or drive forward or on by or as if by the exertion of strong moral pressure : force felt impelled to correct the misconception
2 : to impart motion to : propel

Source: Merriam-Webster at motivator and impel

All the same, it’s likely to come across as a euphemism for manipulator — like “motivator” in scare quotes.

(You could also look into compeller or catalyst.)




  1. colloquial (originally U.S. Railways slang). A person who selects only the best or the most profitable items, opportunities, etc. Cf. cherry-pick v.

1940 Railroad Mag. Apr. 40/2 Cherry picker, switchman, so called because of red lights on switch stands. Also any railroad man who is always figuring on the best jobs and sidestepping undesirable ones (based on the old allusion, ‘life is a bowl of cherries’).

This can also be applied to anyone who chooses the easier tasks.

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