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.


12 Answers 12


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.

  • This seems to be the best fit for what I was looking for. Thanks!
    – twalters
    Mar 12, 2016 at 2:52

I'd suggest, diligent

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

The Free Dictionary

  • 2
    By far the best word suggested.
    – dotancohen
    Mar 14, 2016 at 11:15
  • 1
    If you're a "diligent" work, does that really imply you're "taking your time with things"?
    – einpoklum
    Mar 14, 2016 at 12:46


Showing great attention to detail; very careful and precise

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

  • 2
    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, 2016 at 19:32
  • 2
    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, 2016 at 0:23
  • I would, personally, say that this word is the best fit, although the other suggestions are suitable as well. Mar 16, 2016 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.




  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.

  • I don't believe this implies "taking your time doing it".
    – einpoklum
    Mar 14, 2016 at 0:19
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    @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. Mar 14, 2016 at 12:25
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    I can imagine someone being both quick and thorough...
    – einpoklum
    Mar 14, 2016 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, 2016 at 18:11
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    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, 2016 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



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.


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.


Perhaps perfectionist would fit.

  • I just found you rolled my edit back. Was there any reason to do that?
    – user140086
    Jul 5, 2016 at 17:40
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    @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?) Jul 5, 2016 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.


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".


Maybe this will fit



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

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