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Is there a word which means one who prefers older ways?

I don't mean a Luddite or a technophobe, or a misoneist, or a neophobe. Not any fear of the new, but rather one who, given no perceived benefit of doing something the new way, prefers an old way.

Examples:

Even where the new lanes have been added, traffic permitting, John prefers to make lane changes to conform with where the older lanes used to take him; he's rather ________ in that behavior.

Mary is quite the ________, preferring to use a manual pencil sharpener to an electric one.

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  • 5
    You mean conservative?
    – oerkelens
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 14:43
  • 3
    Maybe "old-fashioned".
    – user66974
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 14:48
  • 4
    There is the new “old-school” tag. ... He’s rather old-school in that way. Mary is really old-school, preferring to use...
    – Jim
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 15:11
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    If it were about more cultural or weighty subjects than lane changes or pencil sharpeners, I would use the word "traditionalist". "Mary is quite the traditionalist, believing that a woman should be the primary caretaker in the home and the husband the primary breadwinner outside the household." More about adherence to custom than about "right or wrong" or about changes in technology.
    – Tom22
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 16:52
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    Whereas both traditional(ist) and old-fashioned have been suggested in the earlier comments it might be better to use 'old-fashioned' for the type of everyday situations in your examples, and reserve 'traditionalist' for more cultural or weighty subjects as advised by Tom22 because traditionalist (and here's the gem you seek: conventionalist! ) implies deep adherence to traditions, beliefs and values established by long usage rather than your simpler 'chooses old ways when possible': I'd choose a simple word over a weighty word if the simple word is actually more appropriate! Commented May 23, 2017 at 4:29

5 Answers 5

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Mill-horse

And what a couple of old patriarchs shall we become, going in the mill-horse round; getting sons and daughters; providing nurses for them first, governors and governesses next; teaching them lessons their fathers never practised, nor which their mother, as her parents will say, was much the better for!
Clarissa Harlowe

.

Roland is a great personage, an honest nobody, a mill-horse at the wheel of office. Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 343, May 1844

.

But I had achieved a frigate and a Princess, and that was not so bad for a beginning, and more than enough to show off with before those dull unadventurous folk who continued on their mill-horse round at home.
Dream Days

All examples lifted from Wordnik - https://www.wordnik.com/words/mill-horse

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  • Thanks, this is a good fit for what I am trying to express.
    – Davo
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 13:54
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    Definition: Figurative or in extended use. A person or thing resembling a mill-horse, especially in being restricted by choice or circumstance to a monotonous lifestyle or blinkered outlook. Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 20:06
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I think you could use traditionalist for both your examples. From Oxford Dictionaries:

NOUN
An advocate of maintaining tradition, especially so as to resist change.

ADJECTIVE
Advocating the upholding or maintenance of tradition.

So

Even where the new lanes have been added, traffic permitting, John prefers to make lane changes to conform with where the older lanes used to take him; he's rather traditional(ist) in that behavior.

Mary is quite the traditionalist, preferring to use a manual pencil sharpener to an electric one.

Your first example seems rather extreme (what if a fast-moving vehicle comes up behind John while he's straddling the new lanes?), so you might prefer a stronger adjective there, like hidebound:

Unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention.

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  • Whoops, just noticed that traditionalist came up in comments, as well. @Tom22, if you want to convert your comment to an answer, I will edit out the first part of mine.
    – 1006a
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 17:43
  • Thanks. The first example explicitly states traffic permitting, but I believe traditionalist has the feeling I'm looking for. I will leave this open until tomorrow in case someone comes up with a real gem. :)
    – Davo
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 17:48
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atavistic

at·a·vis·tic

/ˌadəˈvistik/

adjective

relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral. “atavistic fears and instincts”

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troglodyte

(especially in prehistoric times) a person who lived in a cave. a hermit. a person who is regarded as being deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned.

And its synonyms such as:

fogey

a person, typically an old one, who is considered to be old-fashioned or conservative in attitude or tastes.

antediluvian

of or belonging to the time before the biblical Flood.

HUMOROUS: ridiculously old-fashioned.

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    Thanks, fine words all, but the mill-horse imagery was just what I was looking for.
    – Davo
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 11:11
  • @Davo agreed mill-horse via analogy evokes imagery of pre-industrial society. Very creative and astute answer. Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 20:09
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Perhaps fuddy-duddy would work? It's what I thought of immediately on reading your question.

Fuddy-Duddy

NOUN

informal
A person who is old-fashioned and fussy.
‘he probably thinks I'm an old fuddy-duddy’

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    Would you say someone who prefers a manual pencil-sharpener is a fuddy-duddy? It is probably too strong for that situation.
    – GEdgar
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 17:31
  • I dunno... I would think that someone who prefers the older technologies (or lack thereof) is indeed a fuddy-duddy, but it is quite possible that I'm using it wrong (though, I am one and have been for a long time... 8^) Commented May 22, 2017 at 17:34
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    @GEdgar I use a knife to sharpen pencils. Does that make me cutting-edge? :)
    – Spagirl
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 1:35

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