I would like to describe the manner in which a person performs a task as something like "done in a paranoid fashion." Suspiciously is close, but I'm thinking there should be something more like Paranoidly for this situation.

The use case is actually for documenting a software routine that is particularly untrusting of the input it is given. It acts as if the input is "out to get it," like a paranoid (person) might.

Right now my best succinct description is something like:

A paranoid routine for obtaining a widget based on supplied search criteria

but that doesn't quite capture the emphasis I was hoping for.

Obtain a widget based on supplied search criteria paranoidly


5 Answers 5


In software, the practice of adding code to check that the preconditions are satisfied before the code of the actual computation is often referred to as defensive programming.

Defensive programming is a form of defensive design intended to ensure the continuing function of a piece of software under unforeseen circumstances. 

So, your sample sentence could end with defensively.

  • The routine being described is indeed exemplary of defensive programming, a concept that I believe is well-known by programmers (even if not well-practiced!). Perhaps paranoid implies being extra-defensive, but given no obvious adverb for paranoid, defensively seems an excellent alternative.
    – Myk Willis
    Aug 3, 2017 at 5:21

There is an adverb paranoiacally (paranoiac is synonymous with paranoid) which means what you want, but it is very rare in usage.

In some situations, but perhaps not your specific example, other words similar to suspiciously can be appropriate, including apprehensively, uncertainly, nervously, uneasily, and with trepidation.

In the case of your example, cynical, cautious, doubting, mistrustful, and wary are probably closer to what you need.


A belt-and-braces routine for obtaining a widget based on supplied search criteria.

belt and braces uk informal.
​ the use of two or more actions in order to be extra careful about something, although only one is really necessary: I wrote to them and phoned as well - belt and braces, I admit.http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/belt-and-braces

In the US I believe they say belt and suspenders but where I live suspenders are lingerie so that version sounds strange to my ears.

See also :

  • Interesting, I don't recall ever having heard the phrase belt-and-braces (or suspenders). It seems that it would be most useful to describe something, as per your quote, that is careful specifically by virtue of checking something twice using different methods.
    – Myk Willis
    Aug 3, 2017 at 5:11
  • @MykWillis It is not limited to twice - it just means having checks for situations that "should never happen".
    – k1eran
    Aug 3, 2017 at 10:08

I would characterize the software routine as circumspect.



With a jaded eye.

Jaded -

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) has this as its second definition: “made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience or surfeit.” M-W gives as examples “jaded network viewers” and “jaded voters.”

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.) goes even further, giving “jaded” a separate, third definition: “cynically or pretentiously callous.”

excerpt from grammarphobia blog Oct 13 2010 - https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2010/10/jaded.html

Useage example -

"Trust But Verify — Due Diligence with a Jaded Eye" https://blog.volkovlaw.com/2016/09/trust-verify-due-diligence-jaded-eye/

  • While cynicism is somewhat appropriate, it seems the common uses of jaded stress dullness and apathy, which do not really apply. Also, no clear adverb here.
    – Myk Willis
    Aug 3, 2017 at 5:27

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