Whats the difference between being agressive and being pushy?

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    The two are superficially synonymous, together with enterprising; both of the former are unpleasant. However, being pushy does not directly carry the additional meanings of being aggressive, which render the latter considerably darker. Both are modern words that were not in use a few centuries ago.

    Differences between being aggressive and being pushy:


    Aggressive is somewhat older, early 19th c., in The Queen's English from Latin and modern French. Pushy is an American colloquialism initially in M. Mitchell, _Gone with Wind_ (my dear).

    Depending upon context and culture, being aggressive may be antisocial if not sociopathic, while being pushy would merely be rude. The most common meaning of aggressive has antisocial implications that are not present with its second meaning of self-confident ambition, vigor, energy, initiative.

    By implication, aggressive commonly carries its third, creepy meaning in medicine and biology: broadly, of growing or spreading quickly, as, an aggressive tumor--or a malignant cancer.

    The first, common meaning also carries implications of the fourth meaning: tending to start unprovoked attacks, military action; being eager to fight. A synonym is belligerent.

    The common meaning of pushy is synonymous with aggressive and enterprising; however, being derivative of the verb to push, being pushy is considerably more pedestrian. Further pedestrian, pushy has considerably fewer thesaurus entries than aggressive, few of them dark; many of the latter have dark connotations.

    David B has it spot on, with "assertive" being a step more affable, on a spectrum from aggressive to pushy to assertive.

    Invert each of the WhiteWolf359's and the old dog's answers, and they'd be true, too.

    In conclusion, the succinct answer of concise DF has validity, particularly with the Chinese characterisation of male and female, as, "[The former]'s male, the other female."

    (Women can be enterprising, they just tend toward doing so a little differently ; )

    ~~~ detail ~~~



    Having or showing determination and energetic pursuit of one's own ends at the expense of others, or mindless of others' needs or desires. Making assaults; unjustly attacking.

    "aggressive and imperious; positive in his convictions"

    2. Marked by self-confident ambition, vigorous competitiveness, energy and initiative.

    3. Medical, biological: tending to grow or spread quickly, as, an aggressive tumor.

    4. Tending to initiate unprovoked attacks, military action; eager to fight

    A synonym is belligerent.

    Aggressive is synonymous with enterprising and pushy.



    Marked by aggressive ambition and energy and initiative; "an aggressive young executive"; "a pushful insurance agent" [sic]; "a pushing youth intent on getting on in the world"

    Pushy is synonymous with aggressive and enterprising.

    Source(s): 'Can do searches on the terms. 'Can do a search on dictionary AND free. Look up dictionaries at the web site of your local library; with your card you can access the complete OED. [1913 Webster] "The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48" "WordNet (r) 2.0" "Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0" Oxford English Dictionary - OED SECOND EDITION 1989 If you use this elsewhere, be sure to give due credit, present author included (Y!A Community Guidelines : )
  • 1 decade ago

    Aggressive is when you bring your friends and co-workers with you to the top. Even a bum on the street is invited for the wee extras. That's aggressive.

    Pushy is when you shove everything, and everyone aside for your own benefit. Even a kitten, and a puppy would be shoved aside if they are in the way. That's pushy.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Being aggressive means actively going after opportunities with confidence and self-assurance. Being pushy is when you use that aggressiveness in inappropriate ways or at inappropriate times or places.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    One's male the other female.

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  • 1 decade ago

    theyre basically synonyms, aggressive has a connotation of physicality. "Assertive" can be used for one who enforces their rights without rudeness.

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