What do you call someone who doesn’t follow the rules?

non-conformist, rebel and a deviant are what are currently defined as “someone who doesn’t follow the rules.”  (at least according to google’s search results)

Historically, there have been many trendsetters and pioneers that were originally disdained for “sticking out” or disobeying what society or even some small group they may have belonged to.  Today, more than ever, there will be and have been some amazing people who have been brave and literally failed to conform to what society or more conservative types may have deemed appropriate.  Nevertheless, here are some of the nouns that people associate with people who “fail” to follow the rules:

James Dean, the Actor as a Young Man: 'Rebel Without a Cause ...

    • nonconformist – this entry popped up #1 when I searched “person who doesn’t follow the rules”  Vocabulary.com secured the featured snippet space with: “nonconformist. A nonconformist is someone who doesn’t conform to other people’s ideas of how things should be.”

  • rebel – a reverse dictionary suggested “a rebel; someone who doesn’t follow the rules” and it was listed as #2 for the same search.  When you ask Google to define it, the search behemoth tells us: “a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or ruler.” It can also be used as a verb.
  • deviant – “a person who doesn’t follow the rules set by the society.” This entry popped up #3 in the SERP (search engine results page) and was provided to us by Quora and the many “deviants” who have potentially defied traditional norms to define words by using a dictionary or a better reference tool like Wikipedia — oh, wait a second!  Jimmy Wales and his team are deviants!  🙂

Other Terms use for “Someone who doesn’t follow the rules”: 

  • Dissentient – in opposition to a majority or official opinion.
  • Dissident – a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.
  • Apostate – a person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle
  • Anarchist – a person who believes in or tries to bring about anarchy.
The True Pioneers in Society – Source

“Positive” terms used for “Someone who doesn’t follow the rules“: 

  • Pioneer – a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area.
  • Maverick – an unorthodox or independent-minded person.
  • Trailblazer – a person who makes a new track through wild country.
  • Innovator – a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products.
  • Iconoclast – a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions.  The “positive” connotation could be argued by definitely many in the religious community.  

Intentionally “negative” terms used for “Someone who doesn’t follow the rules“: 

  • Scofflaw – a contemptuous law violator
  • Prima donna – a person who thinks she or he is better than everyone else and who does not work well as part of a team or group
  • Loose Cannon – a person who is out of control, does whatever they want with no regard for others, possibly creating danger for others in the process.
  • Rogue – used to describe something or someone that is different from others in usually a dangerous or harmful way