Some people are very difficult, unfriendly, likes to argue, disagree, do not cooperate, often talk with loud voice.

What are common adjectives to express these kinds of people?

harsh or sharp-tongued or shrewish?

shrew‧ish /ˈʃruːɪʃ/ adjective old use

a shrewish [person] is one who always argues and disagrees with people

sharp-ˈtongued adjective [usually before noun] saying things in a disapproving or unfriendly way which often upsets people

his sharp-tongued friend

harsh 2 TREATMENT/CRITICISM severe, cruel, or unkind harsh criticism/treatment/punishment etc

His theory met with harsh criticism from colleagues.

the harsh measures taken against the protesters

‘She’s an idiot!’ ‘Aren’t you being a bit harsh?’

a harsh authoritarian regime

He had harsh words (=severe criticism) for the Government.

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it unquestioningly perpetuates sexist stereotypes. Jan 14, 2020 at 12:42
  • 1
    @MichaelHarvey But the OP doesn't say he's only asking about women! Jan 14, 2020 at 12:51
  • It's not Tom's fault that one of his suggestions got a "sexist" airing from Shakespeare! (The Taming of the Shrew). Jan 14, 2020 at 12:55
  • In my opinion, a person who is occasionally sharp-tongued isn't necessarily unfriendly, uncooperative etc. by nature. The Longman definition which you quote gives an example: In Kirk Askew, Margarett found a sharp-tongued companion and a compassionate friend. Jan 14, 2020 at 12:55
  • Title said 'woman' when I made that comment. Jan 14, 2020 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


First, I'll mention that there's nothing wrong with the adjectives you've started out with: Difficult, unfriendly, argumentative, uncooperative, etc.

One word that comes to mind, though it's a little dated, is:


  1. opposite in nature, direction, or meaning.

  2. perversely inclined to disagree or to do the opposite of what is expected or desired.

In more modern parlance, one thing that comes to mind is that the person might be described as being "hard work" (as well as a variety of slang terms and curse words).

I also think there is a sense in which it is somewhat unlikely that people would use a direct adjective to describe this kind of behaviour, as people generally don't want to be accused of being judgmental, or, in this case, of being exactly what they are accusing the other person of being!

I feel you'd more likely hear gossipy descriptions of the behaviour instead:

He always seems to disagree with everything anyone says!

I agree, he can be very difficult to work with at times.

Yeah, he's definitely hard work!

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