What is that word that is used to say someone "takes advantage of the situation". This word usually has a mildly negative connotation. It is related to being clever.

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    As Barrie says, the person is an opportunist. What he does is exploit or capitalise on the situation. Aug 26, 2012 at 14:04

8 Answers 8


The word closest to that definition is probably opportunist, although historically it has been used in a rather specialised sense.


I feel that the word most closely associated with taking advantage of a situation is exploit which also carries a slightly negative connotation.


Have you considered Exploitative?

exploiting or tending to exploit; especially : unfairly or cynically using another person or group for profit or advantage
"exploitative terms of employment"
"an exploitative film"

Merriam-Webster has its first-known use as 1885.


Capitalise - draw advantages from; "he is capitalizing on her mistake"; "she took advantage of his absence to meet her lover"


Cunning, which according to OED means:

1 having or showing skill in achieving one's ends by deceit or evasion: a cunning look came into his eyes.


There is also hustler and wheeler dealer

hustler, wheeler dealer : a shrewd or unscrupulous person who knows how to circumvent difficulties


I am surprised no-one has come up with "a profiteer" (very close the word we would use in French: "un profiteur")

Definition in the Cambridge Online Dictionary:

a person who takes advantage of a situation in which other people are suffering to make a profit, often by selling goods that are difficult to get at a high price:

a war profiteer

Apart from the fact that not much cleverness is involved in it, it seems pretty close to what the person asking the question was looking for, seems to me.


For a word with less negative connotations, I would suggest the word astute.

Here's the definition from oxforddictionaries.com:

having or showing an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one’s advantage: an astute businessman

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