28 Negative Adjectives to Describe People in English

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Oh, I’m so excited about today’s lesson! Over the past few months, I shared lessons with you on how to answer How Would You Describe Yourself in English and 23 New Ways to Describe People Positively.

Today is the third and final lesson in our series on how to describe people and their personalities in English.

As you and I know, sometimes there are things we don’t like about people. There are colleagues we don’t get along with or characteristics we don’t appreciate. And today you’ll learn how to talk about those negative characteristics in English with common words and idioms.

In the video, you’ll some of my favorites and some expressions that are particularly challenging. Then below the video, you have a list of 28 new ways to describe people negatively in English.

And don’t forget to review the practice opportunity below!

Curious how to say what you don’t like about people? Here’s how.

Lesson by Annemarie

Negative Adjectives and Idioms to Describe People in English


someone who is generally unfriendly, distant, or cold toward others.


someone who is always ready to fight or argue; someone who might be very forceful to get what they want

Armchair critic

someone who often gives unhelpful criticism and rarely offers their own ideas or solutions.


someone who believes they are better or more important than other people; egotistical


someone who often tells others what to do or gives orders

Busy body

someone who is too involved or interferes too much in other people’s lives


someone who needs another person or needs emotional support all the time

Couch potato

a lazy person who spends a lot of time sitting, watching TV, playing video games, or doing some other activity that doesn’t involve physical activity.


someone who believes the worst about others or believes people are generally dishonest or selfish

Full of hot air

someone who talks a lot without saying anything of value or meaning

Goody-goody or goody two shoes

someone who is always good or always follows the rules BUT is a little arrogant about it, thus it has a negative connotation


to have a bad mood or bad temper


someone who makes decisions without thinking or considering the consequences; doing things without thought or care


someone who cannot make a decision

Know it all

someone who pretends or likes to appear as if they know everything but they are not; someone who pretends to be an expert on everything


someone who is focused or obsessed with material wealth and possessions


someone who is annoying or unpleasant; offensive

Pain in the neck

someone who is annoying; a situation that is annoying or inconvenient


someone who is never pleased or happy with their choices

Set in one’s ways

someone who refuses to change; to be inflexible


someone who tends to offend or upset people


someone who never shows concern or care for others

Wet Blanket (Party Pooper / Spoilsport / Killjoy / Stick-In-The-Mud)

someone who spoils or steals other people’s fun; disapproving


After you’ve watched the video and reviewed the key language for today, review my challenge question for you. This is your opportunity to practice and get feedback!

  1. Use some of the new language you’ve learned in this lesson to describe someone you know. BUT, because we’re describing negative characteristics, be sure to keep your description anonymous. Please don’t use the person’s name or share any personal details about them. For example, you can say, “I know someone who is ______.”

I look forward to hearing from you on today’s topic!

~ Annemarie

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