You are already familiar with some of the adjectives that describe people. Today let’s have a look at some English informal expressions and idioms describing character and personality. Some of you might have heard one or two (or maybe 10!) idioms describing character and personality. And I’m sure that most of you have met or heard of someone who matches one of the below definitions.
30 English Idioms Describing Character and Personality
1. Pain in the neck – an irritating, annoying person
Ex. Sarah is such a pain in the neck these days.
2. Bright spark – a clever person
Ex. He is a real bright spark in the class.
3. Party animal – someone who likes to attend parties often
Ex. Are you going out again tonight? You are such a party animal.
4. Cold fish – someone who has very little emotions, who is regarded as hard-hearted and unfeeling
ex. John said nothing at all when I told him about my problems. He is a cold fish.
5. Dark horse – someone who has greater abilities than he shows or than other people are aware of
Ex. I didn’t know Nick could play the guitar so well. He is a real dark horse!
6. Lone wolf – someone who prefers his own company and does not like socialising. We can also say a lone bird.
Ex. Jack became a real lone wolf since his wife passed away last year. He never goes out.
7. Nerd – someone who is very interested in science or technology, particularly in computers
Ex. He spends all weekends at his laptop, he is such a nerd.
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8. Moaning Minnie – a person who complains a lot about insignificant things.
Ex. Oh stop being a Moaning Minnie! Just concentrate on your homework.
9. Happy camper – a person who is always happy and satisfied. ‘Happy camper’ is often used in the negative.
Ex. The apartment was much smaller than I expected, I was not a happy camper.
10. Smart cookie – somebody who has got a strong personality or who is quite smart.
Ex. Katie is such a smart cookie, she can make any project a success.
11. Wet blanket – a person who ruins other people’s fun by staying pessimistic and complaining all the time.
Ex. Katie is so negative about everything, she is such a wet blanket.
12. Chatterbox – a person who talks a lot
Ex. My son always gets detentions in school for talking in class, he is such a chatterbox.
13. Crank – a person whose behaviour or way of life is regarded as strange. We can also say an oddball/fish/bird or a weirdo (very informal).
Ex. Peter never eats green vegetables, he thinks they make him sleepy. He is such a crank!
14. Rolling stone – a person who moves from place to place, job to job, without staying anywhere long
Ex. My brother was a rolling stone until he met his wife.
15. Rough diamond – someone who seems impolite or is not well-educated, but who has a kind heart and good character.
Ex. Mike may be a rough diamond, but he is kind and always willing to help.
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30 English Idioms Describing Character and Personality
16. Life and soul of the party – someone who is energetic, and good fun during social occasions.
Ex. It was a great night, Jim was life and soul of the party.
17. Wallflower – a shy person, usually a girl who has no one to talk to or dance with at a party
Ex. Jane is a bit of a wallflower, she is very shy when she is around a lot of people that she doesn’t know.
18. Wimp – a weak person, someone who lacks confidence.
Ex. I always avoid confrontations, I am such a wimp.
19. Golden boy – a winning person that everyone is fond of.
Ex. Wayne Rooney is the golden boy of English football.
20. Bunny boiler – a girl who behaves improperly after a relationship break up.
This expression comes from the film “Fatal Attraction” in which the character kills and boils her ex-boyfriend’s family pet rabbit.
21. Slave driver – someone who makes other people to work really hard
Ex. My boss is such a slave driver, I had to work two weekends in a row.
22. Early bird – a person who wakes up, arrives to work, etc. before the usual time
This expression comes from the English proverb “The early bird catches the worm”.
Ex. My Mum is the early bird in our family, she gets up at 5 o’clock in the morning.
23. Tearaway – a person who behaves in a stupid or wild manner, and frequently gets into trouble.
Ex. Jack was a bit of a tearaway in secondary school, always getting into trouble.
24. Busybody – a person who expresses great interest in other people’s private lives
Ex. My next door neighbour is a real busybody.
25. Scrooge – a miserable person who hates spending money.
This expression comes from a character in “A Christmas Carol” novel by Charles Dickens.
Ex. My last boss was a real Scrooge, for years we never received a Christmas bonus.
26. Daydreamer – someone who is having dreamlike thoughts when they should be focusing on the present
Ex. I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer in school.
27. Skiver – someone who is absent from school or work without a good reason
We can also say ‘someone who is pulling a sickie’.
Ex. He didn’t bother to turn up for work on Monday, he is a skiver.
28. Clock-watcher – someone who has no interest on the current activity, and keeps watching the time
Ex. I hate to be a clock-watcher, but I can’t wait to get out of here.
29. Big mouth – someone who is not able to keep a secret
Ex. Never tell her a secret, she’s got a really big mouth.
30. Creep – a nasty person, someone who is trying to impress higher authority
Ex. What a creep this guy is.
For more information on English Phrasal Verbs, English vocabulary and expressions, check out the following links:
We hope that you found English Idioms Describing Character and Personality useful. Try to use at least one of the idioms describing character and personality in your next English conversation. Give us a shout if you need help or you can also have a look at BBC learning English website for some idioms with comparisons.