38 Idioms Describing Character and Personality

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  • Post last modified:18/01/2021
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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.

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38 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. A people person – an outgoing person who gets along with people really well and is a good listener

Ex. Tom is enthusiastic and positive and he is a people person.

3. Party animal – someone who likes to attend parties often

Ex. Are you going out again tonight? You are such a party animal.

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4. Cheapskate – a mean person who doesn’t like spending money

Ex. He was always a cheapskate even though he was earning $200,000 a year.

5. Happy camper – a person who is always happy and satisfied. We often use ‘happy camper’ in the negative.

Ex. The apartment was much smaller than I expected, I was not a happy camper.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Dipstick – a person who seems to be stupid (very informal)

Ex. I don’t know whether to laugh or be angry at his behaviour. What a complete dipstick!

9. Down-to-earth – someone who is practical and close to reality, who accepts other people as equals

Ex. Despite his wealth, he was a down-to-earth man. He was very generous and had a kind heart.

10. 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.

11. Larger than life – someone who is more exciting or interesting than other people

Ex. All who knew him would agree that his personality was larger than life, he was a joy to be around.

38 English Idioms Describing Character and Personality

12. Wimp – a weak person, someone who lacks confidence.

Ex. I always avoid confrontations, I am such a wimp.

13. Golden boy – a winning person that everyone is fond of.

Ex. Ray Wilkins was a golden boy of English football.

14. Bunny boiler – a girl who behaves improperly after a relationship breakup.

This expression comes from the film “Fatal Attraction” in which the character kills and boils her ex-boyfriend’s family pet rabbit.

15. Slave driver – someone who makes other people work really hard

Ex. My boss is such a slave driver, I had to work two weekends in a row.

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16. Big mouth – someone who is not able to keep a secret

Ex. Never tell her a secret, she’s got a really big mouth.

big mouth idiom meaning

17. 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.

18. Busybody – a person who expresses great interest in other people’s private lives

Ex. My next-door neighbour is a real busybody.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

38 English Idioms Describing Character and Personality

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22. Clock-watcher – someone who has no interest in 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.

23. Creep – a nasty person, someone who is trying to impress higher authority

Ex. What a creep this guy is.

24. Laid-back – a relaxed person who doesn’t get stressed or upset easily

Ex. Our managing editor was a laid-back person but he’s recently begun snapping at the employees.

25. Have a screw loose – someone who is slightly mad or eccentric

Ex. Jane’s aunt obviously had a screw loose, just by the way she spoke.

26. Full of yourself– someone who is too pleased with themselves

Ex. Jack was always full of himself and liked to pick on his friends.

27. Bossy boots – someone who likes to dominate other people and often tells them what to do

Ex. She is a bit of a bossy boots and always wants to get things perfect.

28. Lamebrain – a foolish person, a slow thinker (very informal)

Ex. The lamebrains in the marketing department continually make mistakes.

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29. Moaning Minnie – a person who complains a lot about insignificant things.

Ex. Oh, stop being a Moaning Minnie! Just concentrate on your homework.

30. 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.

31. 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.

32. Chatterbox – a person who talks a lot

Ex. My son always gets detentions in school for talking in class, he is such a chatterbox.

33. 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!

34. 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.

35. 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.

36. 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.

37. 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!

38. 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.

More Information

For more information on English Phrasal Verbs, English vocabulary and expressions, check out the following links:

1.English School Idioms

2. English Idioms related to Habits

3. English Idioms about Memory and Mind

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.