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« Let's Invent a New Word or Phrase: What do you call someone who "opts out of participating in something but then complains about the outcome." | Main | Passhole Wins: But Don't Use It to Blame the Victims of Broken Organizations or Bad Bosses »


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Well, for me. i go for the "passhole". And it seems that most of here have voted for the passhole.


There's value in naming behaviors like this, and I am not lacking a sense of humor. I like Passhole best too. But I share the concerns a couple other people have about labeling people as opposed to behaviors.

Once you label someone a problem, there are no more options for changing the situation. If it's about behavior, then it's possible to think about what you are doing to create Passhole behavior, or how to frame change or information so that it's Passhole-resistant.


I had hoped that Dr. Seuss had named this character, but I didn't find it on the Web. I thought the Car Talk guys might have a bon mot since they often repeat neologisms from The Washington Post's Style Invitational contests. No soap. (However, I did find this gem: Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.)

Comments regarding not voting in order to deny legitimacy to politicians and "the process" reminded me of Larry Slade, the "Grandstand Foolosopher" [sic] in Eugene O'Neil's "The Iceman Cometh." So, I offer for consideration the "Grandstand Critic," one who sets themselves apart from the action, yet reserves the "right" to point out what's "wrong."

Ted Scott

Passhole is too easy...but maybe that is exactly the reason why it works, since it is describing the easy way out! I'll go with passhole.

Christine Ellen Goepfert

Unfortunately no term really captures the meaning. The favored 'passhole' is handy but does not get the actual meaning either. It evokes more the picture of a person who bypasses or passes others by malicious means.

Alex F

How about "ProCHASTinator"? These are the folks that are either unwilling, lazy, or too busy to participate in the important planning stages and then chastise the results.


I think "passhole" may be too strong a word for this behavior in the office, unless this person has already exhibited asshole-like behavior. Perhaps there is a more mild term?

In any event, I want to add to the definitions of "passhole" stated above. "An aggressive driver who speeds up to block you or pass you when you signal a lane change". (I don't understand why people do that).


I also vote Passhole.

Andy Imboden

I can see it now: "The No Passhole Rule"

subtitle: "Indifference is as important as passion...but not *that* kind of indifference!"


Passhole if the offender has really been given opportunity to contribute, submarine for the more descriptive and generic situation - both for the humor-touched maintenance of perspective (and, perhaps, of relationship) by the speaker.


Passhole - definitely my favourite. Sums up a chain of events and communicates the tone of criticism by the offending party :)

CV Harquail

I've gotten a kick out of the suggested names, but I have to chime in to support of Thomas's concern about the 'branding' of a person by applying such a label.

There are several important and serious concern about labeling a person -- one of which is that depersonalizes them and makes them all about the behavior, not about who they are in toto.

Plus, as Maren pointed out, once we attach a label to the behavior/person, it can lead us to "complain about the complainers" and let ourselves off the hook for acting to fix it.

So, let's find a good (and funny!) name to capture this dysfunctional behavior *and* also figure out a generous, positive way to respond to it when we see folks trying it.

CV Harquail

Suggested Passhole before, glad to see it getting traction. It's simple an unmistakable in its intent.

working girl

I really like Passhole. That's inspired.


The term 'grenadeface' comes to my mind. This refers to an individual who takes his/her frustrations out on anybody and everybody in the workplace when things aren't going quite right, he/she quite literally, 'blows up' and really ruins everybody's day.


'Submarine' gets my vote. The analogy is spot-on.


There was a thoughtful comment at the end of that thread by Dances with Books (and "Dave"?). Perhaps being a "passhole" is just a sane response to particular situations. The reference to Carlin on voting is pretty good, but it could be made even more precise.

Suppose I opt out of voting well before the primaries have even begun because I think the whole system is corrupt (or at least useless in selecting leaders). Then, when one or another asshole is elected into office, I complain about the fact that the country is being run by assholes. That doesn't seem to me to be an obviously ridiculous attitude.

And there's a deeper point here. What's the net effect of an exercise in this sort of "personality branding". Let's come up with a name for the sorts of people that annoy "us". Let's come up with something mean to call "them". What's up with that, Bob?

I used to think a book like No Asshole was a great idea. I'm now not so sure. It may just being a way of ganging up on inconvenient members of the organization. Inconvenient in the short run. Invaluable in the long.


I normally wouldn't comment, but I don't want to be a passhole and then complain that the wrong word was picked.

The others are quite good too, though.


Yup, Passhole was my first thought too.

Bret Simmons

Passhole - love it!

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