As you meet people your mind assigns them a category, labels them according to the category, and associates them with particular symbols. Many labels, called trait nouns, have been created to accommodate the wide range of individual characteristics we observe. These words are typically used to describe personality traits, the intrinsic differences that remain stable throughout most of our life.
- Labels for salient characteristics of an individual, including your self.
Labels, symbols, stereotypes, and defining traits are all words that describe the symbols we use to think about people. While we use trait nouns as labels for symbols for people, we use trait adjectives as labels for symbols to describe people.
Symbols are the fundamental mechanism our memories use to categorize and organize information. They are essential to the efficient operation of our enormous and flexible memory. These symbols become dangerous when we confuse them with the actual person, or if they are inaccuracy assigned or interpreted.
The Trait Nouns:
Here, listed alphabetically are the English language trait nouns:
Actor, Addict, Adulterer, Adventurer, Aggressor, Agitator, Alcoholic, Amateur, Anarchist, Angel, Animal, Antagonist, Arch-villain, Artist, Atheist, Authority
Babe, Baby, Backseat-driver, Bastard, Beauty, Beginner, Believer, Bigot, Bigshot, Bimbo, Blabbermouth, Black-sheep, Blockhead, Boaster, Bohemian, Bonehead, Boob, Bookworm, Bore, Born-fighter, Boss, Braggart, Brain, Brat, Brown-nose, Brute, Buddy, Buffoon, Bully, Bum, Busybody, Butterfingers
Capitalist, Careerist, Celibate, Chameleon, Champion, Character, Charmer, Chatterbox, Chatterer, Chauvinist, Cheapskate, Cheater, Chicken, Child, Christian, City-slicker, Clown, Comedian, Comforter, Comic, Communist, Complainer, Compulsive, Conformist, Connoisseur, Conservationist, Conservative, Copycat, Cow, Coward, Crab, Creep, Critic, Crook, Cry-baby, Culprit, Cutie, Cynic
Daredevil, Darling, Daydreamer, Deadbeat, Deceiver, Degenerate, Delinquent, Democrat, Deviate, Devil, Devil’s-advocate, Diehard, Dingbat, Diplomat, Disciplinarian, Dog, Doll, Do-nothing, Dope, Dreamer, Drifter, Drudge, Drunk, Drunkard, Dude, Dumbbell, Dummy, Dunce
Early-bird, Eavesdropper, Eccentric, Egghead, Enthusiast, Expert, Extremist, Extrovert
Failure, Fake, Faker, False-friend, Fanatic, Fashion—plate, Feminist, Fighter, Flirt, Follower, Fool, Fox, Freak, Friend, Fruit
Gambler, Gangster, Geek, Geezer, Genius, Gentleman, Giant, Glutton, Go-getter, Gold-digger, Good-Samaritan, Goody-goody, Goof, Gossip, Gourmet, Granny, Grouch, Grumbler, Grump
Ham, Hanger-on, Hardhead, Hard nose, Heartbreaker, Heathen, Heavyweight, Hermit, Hero, Hick, High-flier, Hippie, Homebody, Homemaker, Honey, Hoodlum, Hopeful, Hotshot, Humanitarian, Hunk, Hypocrite
Idealist, Idiot, Imbecile, Incompetent, Individual, Individualist, Inferior, Innocent, Innovator, Intellectual, Introvert, Invalid
Jackass, Jerk, Jester, Jock, Joker, Junkie
Klutz, Knockout, Know-it-all, Knucklehead
Ladies’-man, Lady-bountiful, Lady-killer, Lawbreaker, Lazybones, Leader, Lecher, Left-winger, Lefty, Liar, Liberal, Life-of-the-party, Lightweight, Loafer, Loner, Longhair, Loony, Loser, Loudmouth, Love, Lunatic, Lush
Machine, Madman, Maniac, Master, Mastermind, Matchmaker, Materialist, Menace, Merrymaker, Militant, Misfit, Moderate, Money-grubber, Monster, Moocher, Moron, Mortal, Mouth, Nag
Neurotic, Night-owl, Nobody, Noise-maker, Nonconformist, Novice, Nuisance, Nut
Obsessive, Obstructionist, Opportunist, Oppositionalist, Optimist, Organizer, Outcast, Outsider
Pacifist, Packrat, Pain-in-the-neck, Pal, Paranoid, Party-girl, Party-pooper, Patriot, Peacemaker, Perfectionist, Pervert, Pessimist, Pest, Philosopher, Phony, Pig, Pioneer, Playboy, Player, Playmate, Plaything, Pleasure-seeker, Plodder, Poet, Pothead, Practical-joker, Pragmatist, Predator, Prima donna, Pro, Professional, Profiteer, Protagonist, Protector, Psychic, Psychopath, Psychotic, Punk, Pushover
Quack, Quick-thinker, Quitter
Racist, Radical, Rat, Realist, Rebel, Recluse, Redneck, Republican, Right-winger, Ringleader, Riot, Romantic, Romeo, Rowdy, Runt
Saint, Samaritan, Savage, Savior, Scapegoat, Scaredy-cat, Scatterbrain, Scoundrel, Screwball, Scrooge, Scum, Sensationalist, Sentimentalist, Sexist, Sex-maniac, Sex-object, Sexpot, Showman, Show-off, Shrimp, Sinner, Sissy, Sitting-duck, Skeptic, Slacker, Slave driver, Sleepyhead, Slob, Slouch, Slowpoke, Slug, Slut, Smart-aleck, Smarty, Snake, Sneak, Snob, Snoop, Snot, So-and-so, Softy, Somebody, Speculator, Spoilsport, Sport, Sportsman, Sportswoman, Square, Star, Stereotype, Stick-in-the-mud, Stickler, Stinker, Stoic, Storyteller, Strategist, Stud, Stuffed-shirt, Success, Sucker, Sweetheart, Sweetie, Sympathizer
Talker, Tattler, Tattletale, Tease, Teaser, Teenybopper, Tenor, Thief, Thinker, Tightwad, Tomboy, Tormentor, Tough, Traditionalist, Traitor, Tramp, Trash, Traveler, Troublemaker, True-believer, Turkey, Twerp, Twit, Two-timer
Ultraconservative, Unfortunate, User
Vandal, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Victim, Victor, Virgin
Weakling, Weasel, Weirdo, Whiner, Whizkid, Wimp, Winner, Wino, Wise-guy, Witch, Womanizer, Worker, Workhorse, World-traveler, Worm, Worrywart, Wreck
Factor Structure of English-Language Personality Type-Nouns, in press, March 2003, by Gerard Saucier.
Factor Structure of English-Language Personality Type-Nouns, Gerard Saucier, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2003 Oct;85(4):695-708.