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Is there a word that means roughly 'someone who refuses to accept change and insists that things should be done in the old established way'? I'm looking for something like behind the times or has trouble understanding the flow, but preferably a single word - or stick-in-the-mud, which won't really do since I'm writing in a formal and slightly archaic style.

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  • "Wise man" comes to mind, but I suppose it's not a single word.
    – Hot Licks
    May 23 '15 at 23:17
  • 2
    I'd suggest "dinosaur" or "fuddy-duddy" if you didn't stipulate formalism. May 23 '15 at 23:58
  • "Luddite" comes close. (I never can remember that word, even though it describes me to a T.)
    – Hot Licks
    May 24 '15 at 0:07
  • I'm 'set in my ways'. May 25 '15 at 1:42
2

Reactionary: someone who opposes political or social progress or reform. Highly conservative and favours a return to an earlier, more disciplined, social order.

[Sources]: Oxford Dictionaries; Wiki

Diehard (variant spellings): first used on the battlefield in the mid C19th, then to describe Conservative politicians who were clinging to British imperial power in the 1930s. Now refers to someone who is staunchly opposed to change, even when there are good reasons for it.

[Sources]: Oxford Dictionaries; Wiki; The Diehards

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  • 2
    Thanks; this is one of the closest answers so far to what I'm looking for. May 24 '15 at 11:18
  • Yvw! I will let you know if I think of anything else. May 24 '15 at 11:53
  • 2
    The only other noun I can think of is a 'diehard'(variant spellings). First used in war in the mid C19th, then to describe Conservative politicians clinging to British imperial power in the 1930s. Now refers to someone who is staunchly opposed to change, even when there are good reasons for it. Hope you source a word which meets your requirements. May 24 '15 at 13:43
  • 1
    Thanks - 'diehard' sounds excellent! Might not be negative enough for what I want, but could you add it to your answer (or post a new one - I'm not sure what the etiquette is here)? May 24 '15 at 17:42
  • Included info as an edit May 24 '15 at 19:15
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Sometimes the term "luddite" is used when speaking about someone who refuses to use new technologies or methods, despite how convenient or labor-saving they may be.

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  • Agreed, this is the obvious answer for OP. Aug 3 '15 at 7:27
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A non-negative term I've heard people use to describe themselves or others is "old-school."

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  • I'm looking for something with negative connotations really... May 24 '15 at 11:19
  • "Old school" carries something of a connotation of "stuffy" or "stuck up".
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 3 '15 at 23:22
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Sounds to me like the word "Conservative" fits very well with what you are describing.

Other single word synonyms:

  • Traditionalist
  • Orthodox
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  • People often think of political affiliation when the word "conservative" comes up, but look up the definition and you will see it is a good fit to your description. May 24 '15 at 0:14
  • +1; this is probably the closest answer so far to what I'm looking for, but I'd rather something that doesn't make people think of political affiliation. May 24 '15 at 11:18
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Describing someone as a fossil or a relic seems to fit here.

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One potentially useful term for such a person is a mossback. Wiktionary has a good definition of this term:

mossback ‎(plural mossbacks) 1. A turtle that, because of its age, has a growth of algae on its back. 2. (by extension) A very conservative or reactionary person, especially one with old-fashioned views.

According to Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003), which dates the term to 1872, the original mossback was a fish:

mossback n (1872) 1 : a large sluggish fish (as a large-mouth bass) 2 : an extremely old-fashioned or reactionary person : FOGY

I recall reading back in the 1970s (in Texas Monthly magazine) that hardcore conservative state legislators in Texas (who in those days were almost all Democrats, and who were frequently referred to as "unreconstructed" because their views harkened back to those prevalent among white citizens in the antebellum South or during the Confederacy) were called mossbacks. Legislators who did nothing at the capitol but sit around gabbing with their fellow lawmakers or with lobbyists, on the other hand, were known as furniture.

0

I've heard this expression on an on-line presentation by one of the Nu-Space companies: "Grit-in-the-cogs-of-progress."

(I know its not one word, but I thought it was worth mentioning.)

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  • The OP seems to be looking for a noun, a word to describe a person.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 3 '15 at 8:59
  • The expression was referring to people from the FAA. It could easily be used to describe a person. Aug 3 '15 at 9:16
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An anachronism is someone or something that belongs to another time, so that might be a good word to use.

-1

Though you're looking for a one word answer, when I read @manx_shearwater's answer, I thought about the phrase "set in stone".

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  • 1
    The OP seems to be looking for a noun, a word to describe a person.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 3 '15 at 8:59
  • This describes a rule that is unchangeable, not a person. If you were to call a person "set in stone" I would first think of Han Solo, then second thing of someone who is well built. Aug 10 '15 at 10:52

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