English words that describe behaviourAn A-Z of English words and phrases that describe behaviour.Aactive = always doing something: "Shes an active person and never wants to stay in."aggressive = being angry or threatening: "Hes aggressive and starts arguments."ambitious = wanting to succeed: "Hes ambitious and wants to lead the company."argumentative = always arguing with people: "He wont accept what you say – hesargumentative and loves to disagree!"arrogant = thinking you are better than anyone else: "He always behaves as if nobodyelses opinion is important – "I find him very arrogant."assertive = being confident, so people cant force you to do things you dont want to do:"Its important to be assertive at work."Bbad-tempered = in a bad mood: "Whats got into him lately? Hes so bad-tempered."big-headed = thinking youre very important or clever: "Ive never met anyone so big-headed!"bossy = telling people what to do all the time: "Hes so bossy - he never lets me do thingsthe way I want to do them."Ccareless = not taking care: "Hes a careless driver – "Im sure hell have an accident."caring = wanting to help people: "My boss is caring and often asks me how things aregoing."catty = saying nasty or spiteful things about other people: "I know you dont like her,but calling her names is a bit catty."cautious = being careful, so that you avoid mistakes: "Hes cautious about investingmoney in the stock market."
charming = pleasant and likeable: "What a charming man!"cheeky = being rude or disrespectful: "It was a bit cheeky of him to ask for moremoney."clever = intelligent: "Shes a clever student and picks things up quickly."conceited = thinking youre very clever, or better than others: "Hes so conceited – hethinks everyone should admire him."conscientious = doing something carefully, because you want to do it well: "Shes aconscientious student and always does her homework."considerate = thinking and caring about others: "My neighbour brought me flowerswhen I was in hospital – hes very considerate." ("That was considerate of him.")coy = pretending to be shy so that you dont have to give information: "Hes very coyabout his qualifications – maybe he doesnt have any."creative = someone who can make or design things, or can think of solutions to aproblem: "Shes creative and artistic."curious = wanting to know things: "Im curious to find out what you think of thesituation."Ddeceitful = trying to make people think something, so that you get what you want: "Helied to get this job – hes so deceitful."docile = quiet and submissive: "Shes a docile child and always does what shes told."dogmatic = wanting others to accept your ideas without discussion: "Hes a dogmaticpolitician and always thinks hes right."domineering = trying to control other people: "Hes loud and domineering in the office –its difficult to get him to listen to us."Eenthusiastic = having a lot of interest in something: "Hes an enthusiastic supporter ofequal rights."excitable = someone who easily gets excited: "He gets very excitable about politics – itsone of his passions in life."extroverted = outgoing and lively: "Shes extroverted and loves going out with people."
Ffaithful = being loyal to someone or something: "Shes a faithful friend."fickle = changing your mind and being unpredictable: "Politicians can be fickle when itsuits them!"flaky = slightly unstable and unreliable: "Shes a little flaky at times, but otherwise shesa good worker."full of himself = acting proud of yourself: "He was full of himself after he got thepromotion – it got annoying after a while."funny = making other people laugh: "He can be extremely funny when hes in themood."fussy = only liking certain things: "Shes fussy about what she wears."Ggood-natured = kind and thoughtful: "Shes good-natured and always tries to help."grumpy = someone who tends to be in a bad mood: "Hes always grumpy in the morningand never says hello."Hhappy-go-lucky = not worrying about what might happen in the future: "Hes a bithappy-go-lucky and doesnt think about the future."Iimpulsive = doing things without thinking first: "If he sees something he likes, he justbuys it – he can be so impulsive at times!"inconsiderate = not considering other people or their feelings: "It was a littleinconsiderate of him not to give you a get-well card."introverted = opposite of extroverted: "He was introverted as a teenager, but becamemore confident as he got older."inventive = able to think up new ideas: "As head of Marketing, he can often think ofinventive ways to keep his customers happy."irritating = annoying others: "He can be very irritating to work with."
Jjokey = making jokes: "Youre in a jokey mood today, but weve got work to do!"jolly = happy and cheerful: "It was the weekend and everyone was in a jolly mood."Kkind = thoughtful and caring: "My neighbour is kind – she looked after my cat when Iwas on holiday."Lloud-mouthed = someone who talks a lot and often says offensive things: "Dont worryabout what he said – hes loud-mouthed at times."loyal = someone who is faithful and stands by you: "His colleagues were loyal to himwhen he was having problems with his boss."Mmanic = behaving in a slightly crazy way: "Were a bit manic at the moment – wererushing to finish the work before our deadline."manipulative = trying to get people to do what you want, by influencing or deceivingthem: "Shes very manipulative when she wants something."moody = having unpredictable moods: "Some people think hes moody – you neverknow if hes happy or grumpy."Nnervous = uncomfortable with a situation: "Im always nervous before an exam."Oold-fashioned = behaving or thinking in a way that isnt modern: "Hes a bit old-fashioned and thinks women shouldnt work."opinionated = having strong opinions: "Hes opinionated and dogmatic – the last personyou want to negotiate with."
Ppassive = not assertive – doing what other people want you to do without arguing: "Hespassive at work, but domineering at home."perfectionist = someone who wants perfection: "Her boss is a perfectionnist – no spellingmistakes are allowed."persuasive = being able to persuade people to do things or to accept your ideas: "Hes apersuasive talker."picky = only liking certain things or people: "Shes picky about her friends."playful = someone who likes to play and have fun: "Youre in a playful mood today!"pleasant = nice and polite: "The bank manager was pleasant to me today."polite = showing good manners: "Shes polite and never forgets to say please or thankyou."pragmatic = being practical and aware of your limitations: "Shes pragmatic at workand only does what she can."Qquick-tempered = getting angry quickly: "He was quick-tempered when he was young,but hes more relaxed now."Rreserved = keeping your ideas and thoughts to yourself: "Hes reserved, but polite."rude = impolite: "Hes very rude and never says please or thank you."Sscatter-brained / scatty = someone who often forgets things: "Dont you rememberwhere you put your wallet? Youre so scatter-brained!"serious = not light-hearted: "Hes a serious student and always does his homework."shy = quiet, because you are not very confident: "Hes so shy and hates saying anythingto people he doesnt know."sincere = saying what you believe (opposite of insincere): "Hes sincere in his beliefs."
slapdash = doing your work quickly and carelessly: "Hes got a very slapdash attitude –I doubt hell ever become a lawyer."slimy = trying to get what you want by being over-friendly: "That man is so slimy – hemakes me feel sick!"sly = doing things in a secretive way: "You never know what hes up to – hes sly andmanipulative."spiteful = trying to hurt other people because you didnt get what you wanted: "If shedoesnt get what she wants, she can be quite spiteful."Tthoughtful = someone who thinks a lot: "Hes a thoughtful person and wont do anythingunless he has considered the consequences."thoughtless = not thinking about people or the consequences of your actions: "Im surehe didnt mean to be rude – he can be thoughtless at times."trustworthy = someone you can trust: "My accountant is really trustworthy."Vvolatile quickly changing moods: "Hes easily excitable and pretty volatile."Wwitty = being able to make other people laugh by what you say: "Hes witty andcharming – the perfect person to invite to a party."