Definition of stickler in English:



  • 1A person who insists on a certain quality or type of behavior.

    ‘a stickler for accuracy’
    ‘a stickler when it comes to timekeeping’
    • ‘We don't know what Fred the boy was like - going by his later life the young Fred may have been a stickler for detail, very precise about his work, and perhaps not one of the ‘in’ crowd.’
    • ‘He proved an enthusiastic chorister and server in the parish churches, and was a stickler for the traditions of the Church of England.’
    • ‘She was a stickler for formality and any transgression against the rules and regulations angered her.’
    • ‘After all, you were always such a stickler for accuracy.’
    • ‘He was also, however, a stickler for truth and accuracy, and this might have led to his death.’
    • ‘I shook it, but could tell from the way her eyes twinkled that she was anything but a stickler for formality.’
    • ‘He told a story involving a commanding officer who was a stickler for precision, and whose great aim was to see the trombone players of the band with their elbows at the same angle.’
    • ‘A stickler for perfection, she would inspect the cellars at night to make sure everything was right.’
    • ‘One earnest little girl, clearly a stickler for cleanliness, covered her playground with a variety of dustbins, all carefully labelled ‘Use me’.’
    • ‘Please don't comment on a thread that is only vaguely related to the subject you want to talk about, however; I'm usually a stickler for keeping threads on-topic and you run the risk of your comment being deleted.’
    • ‘But Waugh is a stickler for the protocol of language, manners and tradition.’
    • ‘I was a stickler for tradition, just like my dad.’
    • ‘Would Egypt's most successful general, a stickler for tradition, have wished to be associated with a woman co-regent, even a woman as strong as Hatshepsut?’
    • ‘She wondered if she should sign it to authenticate it, but Irving, never much of a stickler for authenticity, replied, apparently, ‘that she knew who drew it, and so did I, and that was good enough’.’
    • ‘I am a stickler for objectivity in journalism, but I had started out with the impression that I would be dealing with a world of half-truths, stretched laws and dodgy dealings.’
    • ‘I'm actually a stickler for the rules of the road and I always try really hard to drive at the speed limit in urban areas (although I get really annoyed with drivers who drive under the speed limit).’
    • ‘He is as gruff as a bulldog's bark, yet underneath the hoary rock 'n' roll bluster, Lemmy, author of songs such as ‘Die You Bastard,’ is curiously old fashioned and a stickler for good manners.’
    • ‘Fluent in five languages, highly informed and a stickler for precise dates and details, she is equally at ease mothering me with biscuits, stuffing plant cuttings into my hands or scolding me for my dismal grasp of the Czech language.’
    • ‘Rough and tough, Neale asked a lot and was a stickler for perfection.’
    • ‘I am a stickler for details, and I always seem to need to know the reason behind things, the motivation that inspired certain actions, the purpose behind plans and course of actions, the meaning of it all.’
    pedant, precisionist, perfectionist, formalist, literalist, stickler, traditionalist, doctrinaire, quibbler, hair-splitter, dogmatist, casuist, sophist, fault-finder, caviller, carper, pettifogger
    View synonyms
  • 2A difficult problem; a conundrum.


Mid 16th century (in the sense umpire): from obsolete stickle be umpire alteration of obsolete stightle to control frequentative of Old English stiht(i)an set in order.