I'm looking for a term (preferably a short one and definitely a single word, if possible) that describes someone (or something) that brings bad news. I.e. someone whose sole (or at least main) purpose is to give others sad notifications, failure information, error messages etc.

No need to be colloquial. In fact, the more formal the better.

For instance, one who brings condolences would be condolencer or possibly regret expressor (yes, I'm perfectly aware those aren't proper words - I made them up right now with the purpose of conveying the intention of my question).


1 Answer 1


Well, there's isn't any dictionary word for that. The "bearer of bad news" is the common idiom.

Some sources say that you can call such people "Cassandra", which I go against. You see, she didn't bring bad news, she simply made true prophetic statements that would not be believed.

Other sources indicate that "harbinger" is likely possible. "Harbinger" is someone who shows that something is going to happen soon, especially something bad.

There's also "The messenger" (taken from "Shooting the messenger") - is a metaphorical phrase used to describe the act of blaming the bearer of bad news (the messenger).

  • I'm not satisfied. At all. In fact, I'm going to call yourself a condolencer because you're bringing me bad news. So, there we go - now there's someone who's used that term on the internet (be that it was me but still...) so let's hope it'll catch on! :) Nov 1, 2017 at 13:04
  • @KonradViltersten Well, to make your life a little bit better, here's a word you could possibly make up: "bad-newser" Nov 5, 2017 at 0:12

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