English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am looking for a word that would describe someone who always goes out of their way to take their time and do a good job. Sort of the opposite of half-assing something.

I am looking for something that is more about a work ethic than a technically proper way of doing things. Something like canonical or protocol would not be a good fit.

share|improve this question
What research have you done to find such a term? – John Clifford Mar 12 at 1:18
The closest match I can see from the related question Kyle posted was meticulous; would that do the job for you? – John Clifford Mar 12 at 1:24
Meticulous is not a bad choice, but methodical submitted below seems to be a better fit to me. – twalters Mar 12 at 2:52
"Craftsman" has a similar connotation. – plainclothes Mar 12 at 6:52

12 Answers 12

up vote 40 down vote accepted

Methodical - Dictionary Online gives

  1. performed, disposed, or acting in a systematic way; systematic; orderly:

    a methodical person.

  2. painstaking, especially slow and careful; deliberate.

share|improve this answer
This seems to be the best fit for what I was looking for. Thanks! – twalters Mar 12 at 2:52

I'd suggest, diligent

quietly and steadily persevering especially in detail or exactness; "a diligent (or patient) worker."

The Free Dictionary

share|improve this answer
By far the best word suggested. – dotancohen Mar 14 at 11:15
If you're a "diligent" work, does that really imply you're "taking your time with things"? – einpoklum Mar 14 at 12:46


Showing great attention to detail; very careful and precise

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

share|improve this answer
Your word is apt, but please add a reference (look at other answers to this question as a model), or your answer may be deleted. – ab2 Mar 12 at 19:32
In addition, since your definition is actually lifted from a reference verbatim, you absolutely must identify it as such. Mods are instructed to delete unattributed content on sight, with no prior warning. – RegDwigнt Mar 13 at 0:23
I would, personally, say that this word is the best fit, although the other suggestions are suitable as well. – Greenonline Mar 16 at 6:11

I might also consider conscientious

Defined by Collins1 as:

  1. involving or taking great care; painstaking; diligent

Random House2 says:

  1. governed by or done according to conscience; scrupulous: a conscientious judge.

1 Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
2 Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

share|improve this answer



  1. executed without negligence or omissions: a thorough search.

  2. complete; perfect; utter: thorough enjoyment.

  3. extremely attentive to accuracy and detail; painstaking: a thorough worker; a thorough analysis.

  4. having full command or mastery of an art, talent, etc.: a thorough actress.

share|improve this answer
I don't believe this implies "taking your time doing it". – einpoklum Mar 14 at 0:19
@einpoklum it does seem to imply taking as much time as necessary to get it completely right. It may not imply doing it particularly slowly as some of the other suggestions may, but that wasn't really asked. – leftaroundabout Mar 14 at 12:25
I can imagine someone being both quick and thorough... – einpoklum Mar 14 at 12:45
@einpoklum Jusy as we can imagine someone being "quick and methodical", "quick and diligent" and so on. Even if "quick" would be a possibly rare trait combined in these pairs, "quick" does in no way exclude these other words. Note that most answers here focus on OP:s request of a word that is "the opposite of half-assing something". Also, to "take their time and do a good job" does hold some ambiguity w.r.t. referring to spending intended amounts of the entity of time, or simply applying sufficient time and effort to the task to ensure a "good job"; I choose the latter. – dfrib Mar 14 at 18:11
But you can't really imagine someone being both meticulous and quick; or at least, less so. Or punctilious and quick. At least that's how I feel. Anyway, "taking their time" does not mean the time is sufficient, less than sufficient or more than sufficient to get the job done - it just means done without any haste or rush, or even at a slow pace, – einpoklum Mar 14 at 20:41

Painstaking or fastidious, perhaps? Both words can be used as adjectives describing a careful tendency.

Painstaking: taking or characterized by taking, pains or trouble; expending or showing diligent care and effort; careful

Fastidious: characterized by excessive care or delicacy (some definitions include an element of 'demanding')

From dictionary.com

share|improve this answer


having moral integrity : acting in strict regard for what is considered right or proper

"Scrupulous." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.


marked by or concerned about precise accordance with the details of codes or conventions

"Punctilious." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.

share|improve this answer

A person who is disciplined not only has the patience to do a job properly, but makes the effort to complete all of the steps in the job.

A person who finishes a task in a systematic way is more likely to plan for the required amount of time needed for each step than someone who finishes a task without planning, and is also less likely to miss a step.

The word stepwise means to take an action in a series of steps. This series of steps is a plan in and of itself. Therefore, this word also means following a plan that was created to either properly complete a task, or to at least make a measurable amount of progress towards a task.

share|improve this answer

Perhaps perfectionist would fit.

share|improve this answer
I just found you rolled my edit back. Was there any reason to do that? – Rathony Jul 5 at 17:40
@Rathony: If the answer is a not uncommon word, I don't see the need to spoonfeed readers. A link or a reference is reasonable, but not both, at least in my answers. In yours, of course, you can do as you please. (Since a downvote happened immediately after the rollback, I assumed it came from you. Was I mistaken?) – TimLymington Jul 5 at 18:03

All of the given answers are good words to express the concept, but there is one more which came straight to mind when I read the question:


Defined in the online dictionary as:

1. excessively particular, critical, or demanding; hard to please: a fastidious eater.

2. requiring or characterized by excessive care or delicacy; painstaking.

The second definition is the relevant one. It's a very formal word for the definition required but may be worth considering.

EDIT: Sorry, @JesseM - I must have somehow missed your answer when I first read this question. I apologise for duplicating your entirely correct response.

share|improve this answer

A word that has not yet been mentioned is persnickety, referring to a person or a task as requiring great attention to detail.

It may have a positive or a negative connotation, depending on the context. For an example of the former, you can see advertisements for Tilley Hats, in which they refer to the onshore manufacturing with "Canadian persnicketiness".

share|improve this answer

Maybe this will fit



He's a very productive person. There's no minute he would hang around.

share|improve this answer

protected by RegDwigнt Mar 13 at 0:23

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.