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I posted the following on Meta Stack Overflow, and I believe that there was a better word that I could have used rather than "a little too harsh".

Considering that my post fails all but possibly one or two of the low quality post heuristics, is something malfunctioning or is the detector perhaps a little too harsh?

Essentially, I believe that there is a word that is more precise in its definition, perhaps an antonym of "tolerant", that could have substituted in as "perhaps too [insert word here]".

The definition of the word would be something like "erring on the side of caution, possibly to a degree of excessiveness"; it would be beneficial for a Secret Service Uniformed Division agent to be [this quality].

I've considered "cautious", but I don't think it carries the right tone for that context.

Does anyone know of a better word?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The literal antonym of tolerant is intolerant. It seems like that would be a good fit for your post from the snippet that you've provided.

Other options would be unforgiving and aggressive.

Since this is for meta, don't forget to include a hand drawn picture of a circle around a unicorn that's in the midst of making a jquery joke.

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One more possibility would be "strict."

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"Hypercautious"? Yes, it's a word.:-)


It's not a very elegant word, but it means "excessively cautious," which, I think, is the meaning you're trying to convey.

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Detectors (and sensors) are generally rated on "sensitivity" and many systems allow the sensitivity setting to be set or "tuned".

In your example, you might replace "harsh" with "sensitive"

...is the detector perhaps a little too sensitive

meaning the detector will go off for the slightest

Consider a smoke detector set to highest sensitivity might sound when just making toast. On the other hand, if set to the lowest sensitivity, it might not sound unless there was an actual fire blazing.

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Here are a few antonyms I can think of; take your pick.

  • Intolerant (direct negation)
  • Unbending
  • Rigid (viewed)
  • Close-minded
  • Prejudiced

Of course they all mean slightly different things, but are more or less pretty good antonyms depending on the situation.

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I upvoted @hellion's "strict" but you might also consider stringent, vigilant, or even hyper-vigilant. Inflexible also comes to mind.

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