18 Synonyms To Describe Your Enemy


WATCH: Words To Describe Your Worst Office Enemy

A bully is a blustering, quarrelsome, and overbearing sort. And, the worst part is they never grew out of it; they acted that way in elementary school, and it carried through to present day. They are often physically dominant, which makes up for their insecurities and deficiencies in other areas. (Like, say, brain power.)

Every office has one. The trick is to know how to press their buttons, so you can discreetly and strategically push them in the direction you want (to the delight of your co-workers). Mind over matter.


We define the word manipulative as “influencing or attempting to influence the behavior or emotions of others for one’s own purposes: a manipulative boss.” Machiavellian also works well in this case. These people were born sneaky. If it’s possible to have sneaky DNA—they do. Be careful around these folks because their nice-guy attitude usually has some ulterior motive.


A screwup is “a habitual blunderer.” The word is a late 1950s Americanism. If the boss assigns a project to you and a screwup, either the assigned project isn’t that important, or the boss has it in for you. Make sure to update your LinkedIn profile before you start working with them . . .  just in case.


Weasels are cuddly guys, but not when they’re in the cubicle next to you. In the office, a weasel is a “cunning, sneaky person.” Totally amoral, weasels are known to inhabit the sales department, though in fairness it must be stated for the record that not all salespeople are weasels. We kid!

Classic example: A weasel swipes your sandwich from the break room refrigerator and leaves a note (unsigned, of course) saying “more mayo next time, please.”


There is no way backstabber can be misinterpreted. If you backstab, that’s an “attempt to discredit (a person) by underhanded means.” Someone who engages in this type of behavior usually isn’t very good at their job and is always trying to cover up their blunders by blaming it on . . . well, you. The word is used quite a bit in an office setting, as in: “The new CFO has a rep as a backstabber, so document yourself!”

Snake in the grass

Snake in the grass has little ambiguity. If someone has tagged you as a snake, you are a watercooler pariah and a “treacherous person, one who feigns friendship.” The Grinch is a prime example of a snake in the grass. That is, until he brings back all the presents to Whoville . . . some office enemies can change, their hearts just have to grow a little.


Every office has a gossip. Typically, your office gossip is close to the seat of power. They know what’s going on—who’s in and who’s out.


This person wakes up in the morning and makes it their mission to, as our definition succinctly states, “deceive or be misleading.” When they say “the report will be ready on Friday morning,” they are not telling a whole truth. After all, they didn’t say which Friday it would be ready, did they? It is worth staying on your toes when you’re around these co-workers.


In the office, the people who are the most arrogant usually are the ones with the biggest compensation package—definite C-level synergy. Your friendly IT department has been known to flaunt this behavior as well, usually late on a Friday afternoon when your hard drive has collapsed and your report isn’t finished.

Then again, that person in the office that has 10 words for everything could be called arrogant, too. This may be the most abundant office enemy of all. Nothing wrong with a little modesty.


The office burnout is the person who has been at their job for quite some time, and it’s really starting to get to them. They’re exhausted and have no ambition, which stinks for them (and for you). While they’re slacking off, you’re busy tackling all the extra work your boss has been piling on the team.

At this rate, you’ll be a burnout pretty soon too.


This is that stubborn co-worker who doesn’t want to compromise about anything. Not only that, they won’t even consider your opinion when you are working on a project together. If you have an idea, good luck trying to get them to agree to it, let alone listen to your proposal in the first place. Better bypass them and take it to the boss—don’t let them beat you down!


An entitled person is a hard one to work with. They believe they deserve the very best simply . . . because they are who they are. Similar to arrogant, but much worse. Their head is so big it can hardly fit through the office door, which means they’ll surely overshadow you unless you make yourself known.


Many bosses can be overcritical, especially of their employees. Sure, they want the job done right, but they go a step further. Nothing you do is ever good enough for this type of boss. Why?

They’re looking for absolute perfection, which is nearly impossible to achieve. Micromanager to the extreme.


When you’re stuck working with a partner on a particular case or project, you never want one who is unreliable. This type of person breaks promises and is hard to get a hold of when needed.

And, if things don’t work out—say, you don’t win over a client with your proposal—there’s a good change this unreliable person will be pointing the finger at you . . . while making sure they still look good. Stay one step ahead of this one.


When you have to work with a moody person, it’s impossible to know who you will be walking up to each day. Will your co-worker be happy? Sad? Full of rage? Careful not to break those eggshells.

Pot stirrer

A pot stirrer is someone who thrives on drama. Similar to the gossip, but much more mean. They like to stir the pot (or stir up the workplace in this case), which can cause people to feud and even put jobs at stake. Better watch out when things seem to be running smoothly at the office. That’s just when this person will let the pot start to boil over.


Do you know that one person at work who always has their nose in the air? Well, that’s because they are snobbish. For whatever reason, this person has declared that there is nothing good enough for their taste. Office party with an open bar . . . but you don’t have Napa wines. Bagel breakfast . . .  are they from New York?


Ok, we get a boss who is bossy, but when it’s a co-worker, that’s a whole other story. This is someone who is on the same peg of the work ladder as you but thinks they can tell you what to do.

And, they can be bossy about anything: from telling you how to file paperwork properly to yelling at you for not making the coffee correctly . . . even if you are the only one drinking it.

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