I'm looking for a word that describes a person who strictly follows a set of rules without exception. Something close to obeyer or fanatic, but with an emphasis on 'Strictly following the rules'.

Usage example:

The website was taken over by [users who obey the rules strictly].

  • 2
    Welcome to ELU.SE. Thank you, Tiberiu C., this is a nice first question.
    – Helmar
    Sep 22, 2016 at 10:14

6 Answers 6


Someone who always follows a defined procedure, such as a set of rules is a Stickler.

A "stickler for the rules" will always insist that the rules are followed.

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    This was the word that came to mind when I read the title. But you can't use it in the OP's example: "The website was taken over by sticklers" is wrong, isn't it?
    – TonyK
    Sep 22, 2016 at 13:41
  • @TonyK More like being hoisted by one's own petard, I'd say. Sep 22, 2016 at 14:21
  • @PeterPoint: I don't understand your comment at all. I mean I know what "hoist with your own petard "means, but how does it apply here?
    – TonyK
    Sep 22, 2016 at 15:14
  • @TonyK Rest assured, this is not meant to refer directly to you or to your comment. Perish the thought that it was otherwise. I merely indulged myself a little with the idea that the sticklers out there are ready to pounce on those of us who are active on site but who do not see themselves as like-minded, over zealous sticklers on this or any other matter, etc. If this scenario came about then I think the sticklers would ultimately find it to be counter-productive. Sep 22, 2016 at 16:14

You can call that person a conformist.

A person who uncritically or habitually conforms to the customs, rules, or styles of a group.

Eg: .. organisations where employees are loyal without being unthinking conformists.

  • I feel that conformist has bad connotations...
    – MCMastery
    Sep 22, 2016 at 15:42

Here in the UK, we have the term - Jobsworth

"A jobsworth is a person who uses their job description in a deliberately uncooperative way, or who seemingly delights in acting in an obstructive or unhelpful manner. The term can also be applied to those who uphold petty rules even at the expense of humanity or common sense."

  • "The term can also be applied to those who uphold petty rules even at the expense of humanity or common sense". Sounds like he's just your average pettifogger to me. Sep 22, 2016 at 14:30
  • What I find quite funny about this is the implication that someone who chooses to follow the rules to the letter is almost necessarily doing so to make everyone else's lives difficult. That is absurd. Just like on the SE sites, rules are there to be obeyed, allowing for a working system.
    – Engineer
    Aug 1, 2017 at 9:51

You could say this person is (or behaves) by the book:

strictly according to the rules.

"a cop who doesn't exactly play it by the book"

synonyms: according to the rules, within the law, lawfully, legally, legitimately; honestly, fairly; informal on the level, fair and square

"he's a cop who does everything by the book"


I might use Goody Two-shoes or goody-goody

Goody-goody is listed as:

affectedly or ingratiatingly good or proper


Such users may be said to be uncompromising

not willing to change a decision, opinion, method, etc.; not willing to make or accept a compromise

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