A shopkeeper was very cautious about the items in his shop. He was not letting anybody touch or check before buying those.

Is it right to say that he was very conservative in his approach?

I am aware of the dictionary meanings of the word conservative, and concede that it doesn't really work here. But in this example, I couldn't find a more suitable adjective to describe the shopkeeper. I did not find any similar examples on the internet, so I put this question here.

I would like a single-word adjective for a shopkeeper who is dishonestly cautious in order to hide reality of his substandard product

  • What does a dictionary tell you?
    – Helmar
    Aug 19 '16 at 6:52
  • According to Cornell.edu/ucc/2/2-513: 'Buyer's Right to Inspection of Goods.: (1) Unless otherwise agreed and subject to subsection (3), where goods are tendered or delivered or identified to the contract for sale, the buyer has a right before payment or acceptance to inspect them at any reasonable place and time and in any reasonable manner.' he is breaking the law in some jurisdictions. Aug 19 '16 at 9:08
  • Hi Subit Das, welcome to English Language & Usage (EL&U), which is "a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts". You may not be aware of another site, English Language Learners, which might be very useful for you; it provides a "library of detailed answers to every question about learning the English language." For more information about how our own site works, please take the Tour. Aug 19 '16 at 9:40
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    @Chappo He was not allowing the buyer to beware. I'd use the term 'over-prescriptive', but then I usually do on ELU. Aug 19 '16 at 11:13
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    The answer to your first question is yes, but 'conservative' is a poor fit in your example. Aug 19 '16 at 11:17

I would pick either rigorous or meticulous.

From wordreference.com:


1. cautiously moderate; safe: A conservative estimate shows an increase in inflation to 9%.

2. a person who is conservative in principles, habits, etc.


1 taking or showing extreme care about small details: He was very meticulous in his figures.


characterized by rigor; rigidly severe or harsh, as people, rules, or discipline: rigorous laws.

For instance: "The shopkeeper was very cautious about the items in his shop. He was not letting anybody touch or check before buying those. He was very rigorous."

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    Hello, Onat. Welcome to ELU. Please check at the Help Center, and read other questions, to get a decent idea of which questions should be close-voted rather than furnished with an 'answer'. Aug 19 '16 at 9:02
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    BTW Onat, while questions that show no evidence of basic research may not be appropriate to answer, you've provided exactly the kind of solid, well-referenced and well set out answer we encourage on EL&U, so I'm upvoting you on this occasion. I hope you contribute more answers! But as Edwin suggests, it's worth being a bit selective. :-) Aug 19 '16 at 11:27

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