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I'm looking for a word that's somewhat similar to inflexible, but non-derogatory, used to describe a characteristic of a person or their habits.

For example, let's say we have someone who really cares about their oral health. He brushes his teeth on time shortly after every meal and tries to keep his teeth-brushing to no more than three times daily because he believes brushing too much is harmful to the teeth. As a result, he tries to avoid snacking whenever possible. So, he doesn't take any snack beverage or any food like chocolate, chips, coffee, fries, etc. outside of his three main meals during his commute or at social gatherings, parties, etc. even when offered. When offered he will politely refuse or save them for later until a main meal.

Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. His behaviour shows that he is a pretty [...] person, or he is being pretty [...] about his oral health?

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General Reference/Not Constructive. Google synonym inflexible and work outwards from there. When you find words like steadfast, staunch, resolute, adamant (which you surely will), Google synonyms of those. – FumbleFingers May 31 '13 at 18:23
up vote 6 down vote accepted

While "inflexible" may be a component the traits you describe, you are not really looking for a synonym of "inflexible". The person you describe can be said to be disciplined or regimented.

Both words connote a regular and strict conformity to a course of behavior. They are often used to illustrate that the behavior is for the person's overall benefit. This might be the case even while there may be some negative consequences, the least of which may simply be the lack of flexibility that their regimen allows.

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+1 for regimented – Jim May 31 '13 at 19:22
ooops! Sorry @Jim, I didn't see you'd already suggested "regimented". I'll close my answer. :-) – Kristina Lopez May 31 '13 at 20:45

A neutral word that comes to mind is adamant.

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I feel this might not be what you are looking for, but the first words that came to my mind are "Methodic" and "self-disciplined".

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Consider consistent, “Of a regularly occurring, dependable nature.” This is less-judgemental than some of the previously-suggested words. If you don't mind a word that is somewhat more judgemental, consider prissy, “excessively prim, proper, particular or fussy”.

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Firm. Adamant. Strong. Resolute. Uncompromising.

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This answer was automatically flagged as low-quality because of its length and content. – MετάEd May 31 '13 at 22:23
@MετάEd omit needless words. – Jon Hanna May 31 '13 at 23:37
I don't always like the results of the autoflagger but it is usually right. On one hand this answer is accurate and succinct. On the other hand it lacks any kind of explanation or citations. – MετάEd Jun 1 '13 at 1:41

Scrupulous. http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/scrupulous

It tends to have a positive ring but also tells the listener that the person is rigorous, meticulous and extremely vigilant over his dental care.


But his trademark is meticulous planning and attention to detail.

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