I want to say something like.

This department is getting [Insert Adjective to describe old and unchanging].

I thought of decrepit but not sure if this will really communicate my point

  • What did a thesaurus say?
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 12:00

12 Answers 12


Stagnant - not advancing or developing


Stale - not interesting or new

both have the connotations of old and unchanged.

  • Great minds.... now we'll see to whom the OP awards style points.
    – trpt4him
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 19:40
  • I didn't award points to either, but I'll award points to both but call2voyage was first so he gets the tick. EDIT : just realized I don't have 15 rep here yet. Q_Q I'm sorry trpt!
    – Aelphaeis
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 19:42
  • 1
    @Aelphaeis Technically, trpt4him was first, but you can accept whoever you want. I'd recommend waiting for a while though, because there may be other words. Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 19:43
  • Ah, that's a good idea. I'll wait a bit, thanks for the tip.
    – Aelphaeis
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 19:44
  • @Aelphaeis No problem, welcome to SE! Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 19:45

It sounds like you're looking for 'unchanging' in a fairly negative way. I'd say stale or stagnant.

  • Beat me to the punch. Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 19:39


having very old-fashioned opinions, attitudes, etc


becoming rigid and unresponsive; losing the ability to adapt:


become inflexible and unchanging


old-fashioned or outdated:


Static - showing little or no change, action, or progress


I find some of the suggestions I've read here more to the point than my answer will be, but here it goes anyway. Maybe it proves helpful.

Soon after you will have given that all-encompassing qualification of your department, you very well might decide to go on about the department in more specific terms, i.e., exclusively in terms of the staff. A department is more the people than the premises.

You might decide to say: Some of us have become a long time accustomed to regard you, the venerable pillars of this department, as the vital, life-giving force of [the name of the department], but in these past days, as I look at you, much to my surprise all I'm really able to see is a coterie of hoary, scuffy/timeworn old fogies, fobic of the notion of change. :D

  • hoary :

    1. gray or white with or as if with age; elderly.
    2. so old as to inspire veneration; ancient.
    3. trite (Antonyms: original).
  • scuffy : lacking or having lost the original finish and freshness, as from hard usage; shabby. Scuffy old Dad commented: I sure hope you dont intend to expose my grandson to this sort of stuff.

  • timeworn : showing the effects of long use or wear. timeworn lanes

  • fogy : a person of stodgy or old-fashioned habits and attitudes; someone whose style is out of fashion. We've both had our experiences, but we've finally settled. We're old fogies now. [Etym: Scots fogey.]

  • +1 for hoary. But I can't find scuffy. Perhaps scruffy? On this site, linkage to (or at least cites to) references is strongly encouraged for definitional answers (and many others).
    – bib
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 22:10
  • Sorry, it was from my notes Here, I've found a dictionary link (from the total piece count of: one... on the entire internet), but google gives you also a whole swath of of non-dict sources). wordnik.com/words/scuffy
    – Talia Ford
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 22:31
  • Understood, but those examples feel like misspellings of scruffy (especially since no authoritative sources seem to list it).
    – bib
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 22:35
  • true. true. but i've found something else: thefreedictionary.com/scuff the meaning could connote, among other things, feeble old timers who drag their feet due to old age
    – Talia Ford
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 22:46
  • Yes, and if you were to actually say all this, five would get you ten you would find yourself joining the ranks of the unemployed in short order. But nice try! +1 Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 23:44

Here are my picks from science


vapid: 1.lacking or having lost life, sharpness, or flavor 2.without liveliness or spirit; dull or tedious


"This department is becoming fossilized."

Especially in the second sense at the link:

fossilized, adj.: fixed and unlikely to change and become more modern



[ob-suh-leet, ob-suh-leet] Show IPA adjective, verb, ob·so·let·ed, ob·so·let·ing. adjective

1.no longer in general use; fallen into disuse: an obsolete expression.

2. of a discarded or outmoded type; out of date: an obsolete battleship.

3. (of a linguistic form) no longer in use, especially, out of use for at least the past century. Compare archaic.

4. effaced by wearing down or away.

5. Biology . imperfectly developed or rudimentary in comparison with the corresponding character in other individuals, as of the opposite sex or of a related species.

antediluvian can be applied in many contexts

very old, old-fashioned, or out of date; antiquated; primitive: antediluvian ideas.

(wikipedia) The adjective antediluvian is sometimes used figuratively to refer to anything that is of great age and/or outmoded

Yet another term is ossified

to become rigid or inflexible in habits, attitudes, opinions, etc.: a young man who began to ossify right after college.


I'm surprised nobody chimed in with plain old stubborn.

And, by the way, this type of question can be answered with a thesaurus lookup.

Thesaurus.com offers numerous synonyms for "unchanging", but most of them don't fit the use. However, "rigid" looks promising, and indeed, when we click on that, we land in a large, fertile field of useful words, among which are:

  • intransigent
  • bullheaded
  • adamant
  • obdurate

Use the tools, Luke.


What about "conservative"? It may be more about unwilling to change than impossible to change.


Senescent: meaning getting old, unchanging other than in deleterious ways, with a distinct lack of vibrancy.

Overnight the right word has popped up, as I hoped it would:

Immutable: meaning fixed, static, constant, unchanging. Although it does also have overtones of actually being unchangeable, and someone else has suggested it already I note.

  • 1
    I thought to post this, but the word does not mean 'unchanging'. It specifically means to change - via degradation Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 12:37

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