I'm looking for a word in English that describes a person who wont easily accept what you tell him/her. For example, if you tell her you're beautiful she would say, "No I'm not." If you tell her she has changed she will say, "No, I haven't." If you tell her things will get better she will say, "No, they won't."

And I'm not looking for the word "depressed" – lol.

2 Answers 2


It's a tricky question, because in the case of:

You are beautiful.
No, I'm not.

one could argue the person is being modest; whereas with:

Things will get better.
No, they won't.

we could say the person is being pessimistic or glum.

You're trying to find a single word that encompasses all three of your examples. You might consider the word naysayer. Collins defines this word as:

naysayer (noun) someone who opposes something or says no to it

although naysayer often implies a negative attitude rather than a modest one.

Another possible word is contrarian. One definition found at Wordnik reads:

contrarian (noun)a person who expresses a contradicting viewpoint, especially one who denounces the majority persuasion

It also depends on the tone in which the person denies what you are saying. They might disagree with you politely and humbly, or they could do so childishly. In the latter case, you might call them argumentative, but remember: there is a difference between argument and contradiction, as this very funny sketch points out:

An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition...
Argument is an intellectual process; contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of
anything the other person says

Hmm... maybe gainsayer is your best choice.


It depends on whether they actively resist what you say. If they only say they don't believe what you say, they are "doubting" in general, and "doubtful" of the particular fact. If they repeatedly resist everything you say, they are "hardheaded". If they contradict everything you say, they are "contrary". If you can never get them to change their ways, they are "unyielding" or "unconvinceable" (rare) or they "won't budge".. If they put up a fight, literally or verbally, they are "belligerent". There are more, but these are what came to mind.

  • excellent. thanks a lot. but aren't "unyielding" and "unconvinceable" kinda the same with "hard headed"?
    – john
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 8:21
  • Very close. Look them up and see whether one fits better for your situation. Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 8:32

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