I was wondering how the following terms differ semantically? Are they quite interchangeable (in AE)? If no, them please let me know what is the difference between them:

Killjoy: One who spoils the enthusiasm or fun of others.

Party pooper: someone who spoils other people’s fun.

Wet blanket: Someone who ruins other people's fun.

Also, I think they are all in common use in everyday American English. If they aren't, then please define the uncommon ones.

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    A "killjoy" acts intentionally to spoil the fun, but a "party pooper" or a "wet blanket" may not. Describing a person as a "wet blanket" suggests that their disposition, either in that moment or in general, is ruining the fun.
    – drew
    Aug 30 at 16:44

They're pretty much synonymous. As the-baby-is-you says, "party pooper" is a phrase that children use more than adults, or if an adult uses it, it is more light-hearted than the others.


"Party pooper" is a little bit childish, but not so much that it doesn't see common use. "Killjoy" is just a little more formal than "wet blanket". All three would be readily understood and sound natural in conversational English.

Subjectively, I feel that a killjoy usually just sucks the fun out of an activity, while a party pooper or a wet blanket might try to stop it from proceeding at all, but I can't find any definitions to back that up, nor can I think of any examples where one of them would seem wrong.

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