What do the native speakers usually call a person who does everything to excess and often goes to extremes in doing everything or is too excessive in anything?

Let's make some examples:

Imagine a guy who establishes many celebrations every week (I'm not talking about big spender) or wants to be perfect every time, and buys the best clothes (I'm not looking for the word perfectionist). Or when they fall in love with someone, they give their everything to their beloved; even when they buy a bouquet they buy many flowers, many more than they need to etc.

I have found two words:

  • Over-doer
  • Extremist ---> I know that nowadays, native speakers tend to associate the word 'extremist' with the concept of 'terrorist' and usually it is used when we want to refer to political matters, but based on the definition linked, in my opinion, it can be used to describe this type of behaviour too.

I want you to let me know if my words work for all these cases. If not, please provide me with some other examples.


3 Answers 3


As you can see from other answers, the right word can depend on the area in which the person is going to extremes. Here are two other options, both with quite specific applications:

Workaholic: someone who works -- in their "day job", sure, but just in general -- excessively (for some definition of that word).

Maximizer: a fairly precise term popularized by the psychologist Barry Schwartz in his book "The Paradox of Choice". On the surface it appears similar to "perfectionist" but is actually a different thing. In a nutshell, it refers to someone who, when faced with some choice (e.g. Which new laptop to buy?; Which todo list item to work on?) finds it difficult to stop gathering options and make a decision because they are worried that a better choice than their current top-of-the-short-list might be "just around the corner" if they would only just keep looking a little longer.

  • Does "maximizer" make sense to non-academic people @tkp , as seemingly, according to your explanations, it strikes me as if it is a sort of technical term.
    – A-friend
    Mar 27, 2022 at 5:55
  • 1
    Yes, I think so. It does have a very specific meaning, and I believe it was coined by an academic (Schwartz), but it is easy to understand, and has gained use outside academic psychology,
    – tkp
    Mar 27, 2022 at 7:03

We might call such a person an "Overachiever" or an "Enthusiast". We might also call them a "Nutter", "Maniac", or "making us look bad".

  • I guess "overachiever" has the closest meaning in this sense, but for me based on the dictionary definition: dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/overachiever it seems that this term has something to do with "showing off"! If I guessed right, then it would be exactly not what I was looking for.
    – A-friend
    Oct 4, 2016 at 8:18
  • Please tell me if the words "extrimist" or "over-doer" work or not? If not, then why?
    – A-friend
    Oct 4, 2016 at 8:20
  • 1
    "Extremist" is used most often to describe someone who follows an extreme ideology to the point of danger or violence. Personally, I've never heard the term "Over-doer" before, it's not in regular use (thought "overdoing it" is common). Another alternative, if somewhat informal, might be the British English term "Eager beaver", which describes someone who is eager to please and overdoes whatever is asked of them.
    – Werrf
    Oct 4, 2016 at 12:11

Although the answer, provided by a native English speaker, seems to be perfect, I think I, as a leaner, can provide you with another option:

go (or take something) to extremes: to be excessive in one's efforts to do something.

" Let's not go to extremes! We've already spent enough on gifts for the kids."


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