Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'm looking for a word.

I'm looking for a single word that describes a person behind the scenes who runs things, whilst another is SEEN or BELIEVED to be doing the leadership thing. I can't recall a word for this and fruitless searches on the god-that-is-Google hasn't come up with anything.

Puppeteer or "master of puppets" could be one...... but I think I can do better, "wizard behind the curtain" and "working behind the scenes" are a couple of phrases. But I'm yet to remember yet alone find a single word to describe such a person.

Any ideas?


  • You mean the 'behind every great blank is a blank' sort of thing? I could never come up with the right word either, so I just ended up calling it Eric.

    By Anonymous JtH, at 8:19 am  

  • I can think of a couple that come close but don't exactly hit the mark: svengali and eminence grise. From Merriam-Webster online:

    Etymology: French, literally, gray eminence, nickname of Père Joseph (François du Tremblay) died 1638 French monk and diplomat, confidant of Cardinal Richelieu who was known as Éminence Rouge red eminence; from the colors of their respective habits
    : a confidential agent; especially : one exercising unsuspected or unofficial power

    Etymology: Svengali, maleficent hypnotist in the novel Trilby (1894) by George du Maurier
    : one who attempts usually with evil intentions to persuade or force another to do his bidding

    By Blogger The Daily Heretic, at 3:08 am  

  • Rainmaker.

    At least here in Canada that term has come to mean a very successful backroom boy in politics.

    That's not the word you're looking for, I know...

    My other thought...ask Harry. In fact, I think Harry should have a site - a thinkiing man's ask Jeeves. He could retire on that. But wait...I think Harry is retired anyway.

    By Anonymous brian moffatt, at 8:15 am  

  • OK, how about two words...Evil Magician?

    By Anonymous JAR, at 11:37 am  

  • Svengali is good thanks Saint, consilieri would be a variation on this theme. Rainmaker is also good Moff but as you said more Canadian based.

    I was thinking "powerbroker"......but usually these guys have a face to put a name to.

    By Blogger Johnno, at 6:26 pm  

  • umm...

    ...Turd blossom?

    By Blogger caveman, at 6:59 am  

  • I second the Daily Heretic. Eminence Grise is the most often used in a political context. Rainmaker is most often used in a corruption context, though sometimes for someone who is just plain good scoring deals, and svengali doubles as seducer. I generally use "fixer".

    By Blogger Deleted, at 3:35 pm  

  • Here in the States it is called, at the moment, Karl Rove.

    By Anonymous Winston Rand, at 9:39 pm  

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