I usually tend to see the behavior in which someone takes an action, and people criticize, and even suggest what they should have done, yet when they take that same suggestion people still criticize.

For instance: I'm slim; when I eat with my family, everyone exclaims at the amount of food I'm eating. When I eat normally, they ask "Don't you know, you should eat more so you can grow better?" When I don't eat, the same shouting takes place. So in other words, is there a word I could use to describe them or their behavior in this regard?

  • You may find that the appropriate word will vary depending upon whether the person complains over everything a particular person (in this case, you) does or over everything everyone does. Can you refine your question?
    – Fortiter
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 9:11
  • cacoethes carpendi
    – vickyace
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 9:51

9 Answers 9


If the question is what to call the "behavior" of a nag or naysayer, I would suggest "hyper-critical" to be downright literal, but I would also consider calling this type "oppressive" in the sense that they weigh you down psychologically, or "overbearing" in the sense that they violate your comfort zone to criticize you.

  • Thanks, hypercritical is exceptionally useful. I think such behavior or people can be correctly described as hypercritical... Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 20:06

A fusspot is someone who often complains about unimportant things.


I prefer the expression carping to hyper-critical as it's more negative. A hyper-critical person could be interpreted as someone who is a perfectionist, acting in a demanding or exacting manner, whereas carping suggests someone who constantly complains, is never satisfied and finds fault in everything you do.

"Pedantic and hypercritical, meddlesome and fault-finding, he was a terror to the clerks under him, whom he worried in their work, enforcing the rules rigorously, and arriving himself with such terrible punctuality that not one of them dared to be a moment late."

"I judge a man by his actions with men, much more than by his declarations Godwards—When I find him to be envious, carping, spiteful, hating the successes of others, and complaining that the world has never done enough for him, I am apt to doubt whether his humility before God will atone for his want of manliness."


Complainer could be used in some context. Also an interesting word i think is Naysayer, you see it's made of nay+say+er. :)


I think the word you are looking for is Denigrate as in a sentence:

I didn't intend to denigrate his achievements.


Since you brought up family, I think the most appropriate words would be judgmental and nag. They judge your actions and then nag you about what you're doing wrong. Nag is probably more specific to the family dynamic.


A persistent critic like this could be said to be implacable.

From the ODO:


Unable to be appeased or placated: 'he was an implacable enemy of Ted’s'

From Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress:

Then said Mr. Implacable, Might I have all the world given me, I could not be reconciled to him; therefore let us forthwith bring him in guilty of death.

  • I think the person who downvoted without comment must be, ironically, pretty implacable themselves :-p Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 13:21

Such a person could be:

Marked by a disposition to find and point out trivial faults

a captious critic

a person who criticizes someone or something often in a way that is not fair or reasonable

a person who argues about differences that are too small to be important

They may:

To complain naggingly or petulantly; grumble.

To criticize or find fault with (someone or something) in a petty way.

to argue or complain about small, unimportant things


Sometimes spaz is used to represent someone who reacts in an extreme way to any normal situation.

A worrywort is "a person who is inclined to worry unduly".

"neurotic" or "paranoid" would also be apt descriptors for persistent, excessive concern. Especially in the pop culture of marijuana use, someone 'acting paranoid' imagines worrisome scenarios to nearly every mundane situation.

  • "Spaz" (also seen as "spastic") is an objectionable use of the word spasm. It is right up there with the R-word for unacceptability in polite conversation. Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 18:43
  • Pardon, you're going to have to spell it out for me, I don't understand what you're saying. Nor what "the R word" means? Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 1:00
  • Spaz has a somewhat dated meaning as a slur against people with cerebral palsy. Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 5:33
  • Ok, I hear what you're saying. Not sure that's as prevalent as you might think though? Even dictionaries list references to major media publications printing the word recently, where I'd think that one year wouldn't see such a sea-change. But again, I hear you. Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 2:19

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