Thesaurus Help

I’m looking for a way to express a concept succinctly, as in one phrase (or one word, if possible).  Here is the long version: I’d be indebted to any readers who can come up with a short version.

Someone can be “dangerous to know,” as in Lady Lamb’s description of Lord Byron: “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”  As in, keep this person in your association, and you are headed for trouble.

What I’m looking for is the opposite: keeping this person in your association will act as a protection to you.  “Safe to know” doesn’t cover it, because any random beta is safe to know—safe just means “non-threatening.”  The concept I have in mind can be very threatening—but on your behalf.  I’m looking for the opposite of “dangerous to know,” not its simple absence.

Phrases in common use that dance around it but miss it:

—“will get your back” (communicates intent but not necessarily competence)

—“has your back” (better in that it communicates competence, but implies that this is a constant, active thing, rather than a state of competence and willingness)

—“I’m glad he’s on our side!”

—“reliable” is close, but is a term applicable to chumps as well as saviors.

—“makes you feel safer because you know them” is the meaning I’m looking for, but is too wordy.

Anyone has a moment of vocabulary enlightenment, please share.


17 comments on “Thesaurus Help

  1. Deep Strength says:


    Or is that too formal?

    • Close. The quality I’m looking for is that of someone who would be a good bodyguard. But they would also be a good, oh, lawyer, say. The important quality is competence and…tractability? They don’t need to be constantly hovering around to make sure you’re ok—simple accessibility in time of crisis is enough.

      Put it another way. You have the plans to the Death Star, and your ship is about to be boarded. To whom do you send your droids?

  2. thehap says:

    “Good people.”



    • “Good people,” the way it’s used colloquially, is very close. Especially when it’s used with intentionally wrong grammar: “_______ is good people.” It doesn’t quite carry as much connotation of strength as I’d like, but it does have some.

  3. Jim Clay says:

    “will shield you”?

  4. donalgraeme says:




    I am sure there are more. I know that the Greeks and Norse had words for this.

    • These are on the right track. The word I’m looking for is the word that the women of the tribe would use to describe these guys. In particular: how does the wife of a guy think of his brother-in-arms? (Turn off your redpill habits for a second, ha). Were the husband to be gone on a journey, she doesn’t feel worried or vulnerable, because this other guy is watching out for her. Sure, he’s in the next hut and she probably sees his wife much more often, but in time of crisis, she knows where she’ll go.

  5. To all who’ve commented: thanks for all suggestions so far. Sorry to call for suggestions and then criticize them all. I’m not sure that there is a succinct way to put this.

  6. donalgraeme says:

    Shield-brother. As in, “my husband’s shield-brother will protect me while my husband is away.”

    It might be possible to resort to an old word too, one that is out of the common lexicology.

    Honor Guard is another possibility.

  7. In Greek there is the word, “Koumbaros” “κουμπάρος” . I don’t know if it is what you mean, and the direct translation in english doesn’t really make sense as it translates into “Best man” or “Groomsman”, but really it is much much more. For example he really does everything, if there is ever any troubles or problems there is no doubt the koumbaros will help. If I were a married woman and my husband were away I would say “It’s okay, my koumbaros will be around”. And they will always address each other as Koumbaros, usually not by first names.

  8. But of course that doesn’t really help you if you wanted an English word, LOL.

    • donalgraeme says:

      That really isn’t a problem, because we Americans love to grab non-English words and adopt them for our own use. This word, Koumbaros, sounds like it is spot on.

  9. Cane Caldo says:

    “boon companion”

    or just “boon”

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