Which one of the following adjectives is the right one to describe someone who has just stepped down as a manager?

  • "Resigned manager"
  • "Stepped-down manager"
  • 1
    Any wording that forces you to reread it 3 times needs improvement. In this case, ex-manager is okay, but that manager who ... is just right. Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 23:00
  • 2
    Resigned as an adjective has a very different meaning. Stepped down as an adjective suggests either a lowered voltage or a garden feature.
    – Peter
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 1:56
  • I know how someone can be resigned to some action or fate, but how do you step them down?
    – tchrist
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 3:04

1 Answer 1


Neither resigned nor stepped-down is an adjective. And neither is used attributively (before a noun phrase being modified). As to choosing between

the manager who resigned


the manager who stepped down,

the choice depends on context and precise meaning. Resign means leave an organization’s employment altogether, whereas step down can mean that, but can also mean leave one position in favor of another one, typically of lower rank.

If one doesn’t choose to make that distinction, then, as @Yosef Baskin has commented, ex-manager is fine.

  • 2
    “Former manager” also works. Or you can use something like “X, until recently the manager of . . . “
    – Xanne
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 2:11
  • @Xanne, mind if I fold former manager into my answer? Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 2:13
  • 2
    Although this is a bit nitpicking, a senior manager who has 'stepped down' to be a junior manager is neither a former manager nor an ex manager. Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 2:49
  • @PaulTanenbaum That would be fine!
    – Xanne
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 5:27
  • 'Resigned' is an adjective, but often not with the sense needed here. And it can be used in combination prenominally with the required sense: ... the recently resigned Director-General of RTÉ, Dee Forbes ...'. The 'Eleven-year-old boy Rule', as mentioned by J Lawler. Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 9:53

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