English Words that Describe Behaviour

An A-Z of English words and phrases that describe behaviour.


active = always doing something: “She’s an active person and never wants to stay in.”

aggressive = being angry or threatening: “He’s aggressive and starts arguments.”

ambitious = wanting to succeed: “He’s ambitious and wants to lead the company.”

argumentative = always arguing with people: “He won’t accept what you say – he’s argumentative and loves to disagree!”

arrogant = thinking you are better than anyone else: “He always behaves as if nobody else’s opinion is important – “I find him very arrogant.”

assertive = being confident, so people can’t force you to do things you don’t want to do: “It’s important to be assertive at work.”


bad-tempered = in a bad mood: “What’s got into him lately? He’s so bad-tempered.”

big-headed = thinking you’re very important or clever: “I’ve never met anyone so big-headed!”

bossy = telling people what to do all the time: “He’s so bossy – he never lets me do things the way I want to do them.”


careless = not taking care: “He’s a careless driver – “I’m sure he’ll have an accident.”

caring = wanting to help people: “My boss is caring and often asks me how things are going.”

catty = saying nasty or spiteful things about other people: “I know you don’t like her, but calling her names is a bit catty.”

cautious = being careful, so that you avoid mistakes: “He’s cautious about investing money in the stock market.”

charming = pleasant and likeable: “What a charming man!”

cheeky = being rude or disrespectful: “It was a bit cheeky of him to ask for more money.”

clever = intelligent: “She’s a clever student and picks things up quickly.”

conceited = thinking you’re very clever, or better than others: “He’s so conceited – he thinks everyone should admire him.”

conscientious = doing something carefully, because you want to do it well: “She’s a conscientious student and always does her homework.”

considerate = thinking and caring about others: “My neighbour brought me flowers when I was in hospital – he’s very considerate.” (“That was considerate of him.”)

coy = pretending to be shy so that you don’t have to give information: “He’s very coy about his qualifications – maybe he doesn’t have any.”

creative = someone who can make or design things, or can think of solutions to a problem: “She’s creative and artistic.”

curious = wanting to know things: “I’m curious to find out what you think of the situation.”


deceitful = trying to make people think something, so that you get what you want: “He lied to get this job – he’s so deceitful.”

docile = quiet and submissive: “She’s a docile child and always does what she’s told.”

dogmatic = wanting others to accept your ideas without discussion: “He’s a dogmatic politician and always thinks he’s right.”

domineering = trying to control other people: “He’s loud and domineering in the office – it’s difficult to get him to listen to us.”


enthusiastic = having a lot of interest in something: “He’s an enthusiastic supporter of equal rights.”

excitable = someone who easily gets excited: “He gets very excitable about politics – it’s one of his passions in life.”

extroverted = outgoing and lively: “She’s extroverted and loves going out with people.”


faithful = being loyal to someone or something: “She’s a faithful friend.”

fickle = changing your mind and being unpredictable: “Politicians can be fickle when it suits them!”

flaky = slightly unstable and unreliable: “She’s a little flaky at times, but otherwise she’s a good worker.”

full of himself = acting proud of yourself: “He was full of himself after he got the promotion – it got annoying after a while.”

funny = making other people laugh: “He can be extremely funny when he’s in the mood.”

fussy = only liking certain things: “She’s fussy about what she wears.”


good-natured = kind and thoughtful: “She’s good-natured and always tries to help.”

grumpy = someone who tends to be in a bad mood: “He’s always grumpy in the morning and never says ‘hello’.”


happy-go-lucky = not worrying about what might happen in the future: “He’s a bit happy-go-lucky and doesn’t think about the future.”


impulsive = doing things without thinking first: “If he sees something he likes, he just buys it – he can be so impulsive at times!”

inconsiderate = not considering other people or their feelings: “It was a little inconsiderate of him not to give you a get-well card.”

introverted = opposite of extroverted: “He was introverted as a teenager, but became more confident as he got older.”

inventive = able to think up new ideas: “As head of Marketing, he can often think of inventive ways to keep his customers happy.”

irritating = annoying others: “He can be very irritating to work with.”


jokey = making jokes: “You’re in a jokey mood today, but we’ve got work to do!”

jolly = happy and cheerful: “It was the weekend and everyone was in a jolly mood.”


kind = thoughtful and caring: “My neighbour is kind – she looked after my cat when I was on holiday.”


loud-mouthed = someone who talks a lot and often says offensive things: “Don’t worry about what he said – he’s loud-mouthed at times.”

loyal = someone who is faithful and stands by you: “His colleagues were loyal to him when he was having problems with his boss.”


manic = behaving in a slightly crazy way: “We’re a bit manic at the moment – we’re rushing to finish the work before our deadline.”

manipulative = trying to get people to do what you want, by influencing or deceiving them: “She’s very manipulative when she wants something.”

moody = having unpredictable moods: “Some people think he’s moody – you never know if he’s happy or grumpy.”


nervous = uncomfortable with a situation: “I’m always nervous before an exam.”


old-fashioned = behaving or thinking in a way that isn’t modern: “He’s a bit old-fashioned and thinks women shouldn’t work.”

opinionated = having strong opinions: “He’s opinionated and dogmatic – the last person you want to negotiate with.”


passive = not assertive – doing what other people want you to do without arguing: “He’s passive at work, but domineering at home.”

perfectionist = someone who wants perfection: “Her boss is a perfectionnist – no spelling mistakes are allowed.”

persuasive = being able to persuade people to do things or to accept your ideas: “He’s a persuasive talker.”

picky = only liking certain things or people: “She’s picky about her friends.”

playful = someone who likes to play and have fun: “You’re in a playful mood today!”

pleasant = nice and polite: “The bank manager was pleasant to me today.”

polite = showing good manners: “She’s polite and never forgets to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’.”

pragmatic = being practical and aware of your limitations: “She’s pragmatic at work and only does what she can.”


quick-tempered = getting angry quickly: “He was quick-tempered when he was young, but he’s more relaxed now.”


reserved = keeping your ideas and thoughts to yourself: “He’s reserved, but polite.”

rude = impolite: “He’s very rude and never says ‘please’ or ‘thank you’.”


scatter-brained / scatty = someone who often forgets things: “Don’t you remember where you put your wallet? You’re so scatter-brained!”

serious = not light-hearted: “He’s a serious student and always does his homework.”

shy = quiet, because you are not very confident: “He’s so shy and hates saying anything to people he doesn’t know.”

sincere = saying what you believe (opposite of insincere): “He’s sincere in his beliefs.”

slapdash = doing your work quickly and carelessly: “He’s got a very slapdash attitude – I doubt he’ll ever become a lawyer.”

slimy = trying to get what you want by being over-friendly: “That man is so slimy – he makes me feel sick!”

sly = doing things in a secretive way: “You never know what he’s up to – he’s sly and manipulative.”

spiteful = trying to hurt other people because you didn’t get what you wanted: “If she doesn’t get what she wants, she can be quite spiteful.”


thoughtful = someone who thinks a lot: “He’s a thoughtful person and won’t do anything unless he has considered the consequences.”

thoughtless = not thinking about people or the consequences of your actions: “I’m sure he didn’t mean to be rude – he can be thoughtless at times.”

trustworthy = someone you can trust: “My accountant is really trustworthy.”


volatile quickly changing moods: “He’s easily excitable and pretty volatile.”


witty = being able to make other people laugh by what you say: “He’s witty and charming – the perfect person to invite to a party.”

Behaviour Vocabulary

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English Words that Describe Behaviour

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41 thoughts on “English Words that Describe Behaviour”

  1. i’m really grateful to you for giving me training of English vocabulary and practice work. i hope my English is getting improved than before not only in conversation but also in writing letter and reading the newspaper. moreover i wish i could get some apps about that so that i could study myself out of network. allright thanking you so much for everything and looking forward to next more lessons, sincerly VICTOR

  2. That list is fantastic but I can’t find a word to describe a coworker with a very mean attitude, he gives attitude all the time and is offensive if he does not get his way, diminish people and try to jump you if you are on his way even if you are there to check and process things for him as his time sheets or itineraries. he is quick temper and volatile and knows what to say to make you feel less and put your down but without any bad word. It is actually difficult to reply what he said to offend you because when you repeat it, it sounds not that bad is like the tone?


  3. I don’t think there’s only one adjective to describe him! I’d say “aggressive”, “difficult to work with”, “volatile” and “unhelpful”! (PS Hope the situation gets better for you – he sounds like a nightmare to work with!)

  4. OMG! Finally i just learned the best out of this! AwEsOmE! Um a manic individual and pragmantic all the time!*wOw*

  5. What is the word that means that you want to do something really bad????? Like you are setting you mind to do it, but you cant because of the people around you wont let you like you are eager to do it.

  6. Is there a word that describes why we accept bad language or behavior from one person but not another. Sort of like “oh, he’s always talked like that” versus “oh, what bad language he just used. Shame on him”

  7. I’m not sure if there’s a single word. Perhaps a phrase like “give someone extra leeway” or “make allowances for someone”.

  8. What word can One use to describe a Comptemptous Pouting? Ie; pout quickly to show disapproval or hatred.

  9. I was lookin for a word to describe someone who shows no interest in things they don’t already know about and kinda like.

  10. Maybe you could say “blase” or “disconnected”? I have to say I prefer your phrase “no interest in things they already know about”. It sums up the concept really well!

  11. You made English language interesting to learn by your beautiful post. Thanks for this absolute great work and request you to continue doing it…….

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