I am looking for English equivalent word for a Tamil word "மலைப்பு". Here is the Tamil saying I am trying to translate to English,

களைத்தவனோடு கூட வேலைக்கு செல்லலாம் அனால் மலைத்தவனோடு மட்டும் வேலைக்கு செல்ல கூடாது

This roughly translates to:

You are better of working with someone who is tired/skinny than,

  1. Someone who looks at a small task but believes and professes it to be mountainous task. This demotivates them and also you.
  2. Someone who could have completed the task in less time than the time they spend on thinking and talking about how big of the task for them to complete.
  3. Someone who procrastinates the task for tomorrow knowing that tomorrow is not going be any better than today.
  4. Someone who weighs you down, slows you down and demotivates you and makes you realize you would have accomplished the task much faster alone than this person.

Can you think of a word that describes this type of person?

  • 4
    You are describing stress and anxiety. Google translate thinks your word is mountain. Does 'overwhelmed' cover it psychologically? Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 19:33
  • 1
    Perhaps drag, in the figurative sense of being a millstone around sb's neck. ,
    – Graffito
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 22:35
  • Seems almost like you hardly need the saying if you already have a single word that conveys all the meanings in 1-4! More seriously, if the Tamil word has an etymology in Tamil that could be translated into English, that might give people ideas on an answer. But I suspect English does not have the word you want. Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 14:20
  • 1
    @MarkFoskey My advice to OP, just transliterate the word into english, and start using it amongst their friends and colleagues as well as on social media. English loves a new loanword after all! Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 16:06
  • Thank you, I don't thing any one word or phrase covers it, I think it is a combination of overwhelmed, procrastinating and demotivating.
    – iraSenthil
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 19:30

5 Answers 5


The attitude is similar to a negative Nancy. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it under "negative, adj., adv.2, and int.", definition 4e:

colloquial (originally U.S.). Preceding a forename beginning with N, forming a generic name for a person who is (habitually) negative, critical, or pessimistic. Esp. in negative Nelly and (in later use) negative Nancy. (Perhaps influenced by earlier uses, Nervous Nellie n. at nervous adj. and n. Compounds 2 and Nice Nelly n.)

1971 Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass.) 11 Dec. 15/6 We've been swamped in a barrage of talk about what's wrong with America, harangued by negative Nellies.

1999 Re: Did Anyone see This? in rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting.misc (Usenet newsgroup) 13 May Be prepared for one or two ‘negative-Nancies’ to try to pick apart your post.

2015 Herald (Glasgow) (Nexis) 7 July 5 Instead of just complaining and being negative Nellies, we've come up with positive alternatives.

As seen in the 1971 and 2015 quotes, part of the connotation of the term is that they are negative to the point of "swamp[ing]" action on "positive alternatives." In other words, a negative Nancy and its variants (Ned, Nelly) often holds action back.


A person who consistently takes a negative perspective can be called a pessimist, or more colloquially/playfully, a negative Nancy. These capture the connotations in #1 well.

A person/thing that accomplishes nothing but slowing you down can be called dead weight. This very much captures the notion of #4, that you would have finished faster without them.


It sounds like you're looking for a negative word, so naysayer may do the trick:

a person who habitually expresses negative or pessimistic views (Cambridge)

A less formal word for this is Debbie Downer:

a negative or pessimistic person : a person who speaks only of the bad or depressing aspects of something and lessens the enthusiasm or pleasure of others (Merriam-Webster)

killjoy is related, though it has more of an intentional bent to it:

a person who does not like other people enjoying themselves (Cambridge)

I'd also suggest looking through synonyms for 'doomsayer.'

(As a Tamil speaker, I very rarely hear the word used, but I always thought that 'மலைப்பு' meant wonder. This dictionary defines it as 'ஆச்சரிய அல்லது அதிசய உணர்வு,' or, 'a feeling of awe or amazement.)


The term "burned out" comes to mind -- a colloquial term that metaphorically compares a person to (e.g.) a match that has been used. Someone who is demotivated or exhausted to the point that they struggle to actually get things done -- like the spent match, they lack energy.

This term especially pertains to the workplace, in high stress jobs where people often work very very hard, or very long hours, for years until they "burn out" and just can't do the job any more.


How about "Layabout" or just "loser"

layabout - a lazy shiftless person

loser - a person who is incompetent or unable to succeed.

  • Hi, please provide definitions of proposed words, and provide some context and reasoning behind it.
    – Joachim
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 6:56

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