Words that Describe Behavior
Here is an A-Z of English words and phrases that describe behavior. This vocabulary is very important for describing individuals, and is particularly useful in the workplace.
active = always doing something: "She's an active person and never wants to stay in."
aggressive = being angry or threatening: "He's aggressive and starts arguments."
ambitious = wanting to succeed: "He's ambitious and wants to lead the company."
argumentative = always arguing with people: "He won't accept what you say - he's argumentative and loves to disagree!"
arrogant = thinking you are better than anyone else: "He always behaves as if nobody else's opinion is important - "I find him very arrogant."
assertive = being confident, so people can't force you to do things you don't want to do: "It's important to be assertive at work."
bad-tempered = in a bad mood: "What's got into him lately? He's so bad-tempered."
big-headed = thinking you're very important or clever: "I've never met anyone so big-headed!"
bossy = telling people what to do all the time: "He's so bossy - he never lets me do things the way I want to do them."
careless = not taking care: "He's a careless driver - "I'm sure he'll have an accident."
caring = wanting to help people: "My boss is caring and often asks me how things are going."
catty = saying nasty or spiteful things about other people: "I know you don't like her, but calling her names is a bit catty."
cautious = being careful, so that you avoid mistakes: "He's cautious about investing money 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 more money."
clever = intelligent: "She's a clever student and picks things up quickly."
conceited = thinking you're very clever, or better than others: "He's so conceited - he thinks everyone should admire him."
conscientious = doing something carefully, because you want to do it well: "She's a conscientious student and always does her homework."
considerate = thinking and caring about others: "My neighbor brought me flowers when I was in hospital - he's very considerate." ("That was considerate of him.")
coy = pretending to be shy so that you don't have to give information: "He's very coy about his qualifications - maybe he doesn't have any."
creative = someone who can make or design things, or can think of solutions to a problem: "She's creative and artistic."
curious = wanting to know things: "I'm curious to find out what you think of the situation."
deceitful = trying to make people think something, so that you get what you want: "He lied to get this job - he's so deceitful."
docile = quiet and submissive: "She's a docile child and always does what she's told."
dogmatic = wanting others to accept your ideas without discussion: "He's a dogmatic politician and always thinks he's right."
domineering = trying to control other people: "He's loud and domineering in the office - it's difficult to get him to listen to us."
enthusiastic = having a lot of interest in something: "He's an enthusiastic supporter of equal rights."
excitable = someone who easily gets excited: "He gets very excitable about politics - it's one of his passions in life."
extroverted = outgoing and lively: "She's extroverted and loves going out with people."
faithful = being loyal to someone or something: "She's a faithful friend."
fickle = changing your mind and being unpredictable: "Politicians can be fickle when it suits them!"
flaky = slightly unstable and unreliable: "She's a little flaky at times, but otherwise she's a good worker."
full of himself = acting proud of yourself: "He was full of himself after he got the promotion - it got annoying after a while."
funny = making other people laugh: "He can be extremely funny when he's in the mood."
fussy = only liking certain things: "She's fussy about what she wears."
good-natured = kind and thoughtful: "She's good-natured and always tries to help."
grumpy = someone who tends to be in a bad mood: "He's always grumpy in the morning and never says 'hello'.”
happy-go-lucky = not worrying about what might happen in the future: "He's a bit happy-go-lucky and doesn't think about the future."
impulsive = doing things without thinking first: "If he sees something he likes, he just buys it - he can be so impulsive at times!"
inconsiderate = not considering other people or their feelings: "It was a little inconsiderate of him not to give you a get-well card."
introverted = opposite of extroverted: "He was introverted as a teenager, but became more confident as he got older."
inventive = able to think up new ideas: "As head of Marketing, he can often think of inventive ways to keep his customers happy."
irritating = annoying others: "He can be very irritating to work with."
jokey = making jokes: "You're in a jokey mood today, but we've got work to do!"
jolly = happy and cheerful: "It was the weekend and everyone was in a jolly mood."
kind = thoughtful and caring: "My neighbor is kind - she looked after my cat when I was on holiday.”
loud-mouthed = someone who talks a lot and often says offensive things: "Don't worry about what he said - he's loud-mouthed at times."
loyal = someone who is faithful and stands by you: "His colleagues were loyal to him when he was having problems with his boss."
manic = behaving in a slightly crazy way: "We're a bit manic at the moment - we're rushing to finish the work before our deadline."
manipulative = trying to get people to do what you want, by influencing or deceiving them: "She's very manipulative when she wants something."
moody = having unpredictable moods: "Some people think he's moody - you never know if he's happy or grumpy."
nervous = uncomfortable with a situation: "I'm always nervous before an exam."
old-fashioned = behaving or thinking in a way that isn't modern: "He's a bit old-fashioned and thinks women shouldn't work."
opinionated = having strong opinions: "He's opinionated and dogmatic - the last person you want to negotiate with."
passive = not assertive - doing what other people want you to do without arguing: "He's passive at work, but domineering at home."
perfectionist = someone who wants perfection: "Her boss is a perfectionist - no spelling mistakes are allowed."
persuasive = being able to persuade people to do things or to accept your ideas: "He's a persuasive talker."
picky = only liking certain things or people: "She's picky about her friends."
playful = someone who likes to play and have fun: "You're in a playful mood today!"
pleasant = nice and polite: "The bank manager was pleasant to me today."
polite = showing good manners: "She's polite and never forgets to say 'please' or 'thank you'."
pragmatic = being practical and aware of your limitations: "She's pragmatic at work and only does what she can."
quick-tempered = getting angry quickly: "He was quick-tempered when he was young, but he's more relaxed now."
reserved = keeping your ideas and thoughts to yourself: "He's reserved, but polite."
rude = impolite: "He's very rude and never says 'please' or 'thank you'."
scatter-brained / scatty = someone who often forgets things: "Don't you remember where you put your wallet? You're so scatter-brained!"
serious = not light-hearted: "He's a serious student and always does his homework."
shy = quiet, because you are not very confident: "He's so shy and hates saying anything to people he doesn't know."
sincere = saying what you believe (opposite of insincere): "He's sincere in his beliefs."
slapdash = doing your work quickly and carelessly: "He's got a very slapdash attitude - I doubt he'll ever become a lawyer."
slimy = trying to get what you want by being over-friendly: "That man is so slimy - he makes me feel sick!"
sly = doing things in a secretive way: "You never know what he's up to - he's sly and manipulative."
spiteful = trying to hurt other people because you didn't get what you wanted: "If she doesn't get what she wants, she can be quite spiteful."
thoughtful = someone who thinks a lot: "He's a thoughtful person and won't do anything unless he has considered the consequences."
thoughtless = not thinking about people or the consequences of your actions: "I'm sure he didn't mean to be rude - he can be thoughtless at times."
trustworthy = someone you can trust: "My accountant is really trustworthy."
volatile quickly changing moods: "He's easily excitable and pretty volatile."
witty = being able to make other people laugh by what you say: "He's witty and charming - the perfect person to invite to a party.”
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