I have heard of the word stringent, which to me I understand it as “a person who can't seem to let loose” or “a person who is not flexible at all”.

For example:

There is an upcoming trip where this man asks his wife where she would like to go. She says yes, but the following day she changes her mind.

The husband gets uptight because she changed her mind. This is one of the many cases where her husband gets upset whenever she changes her mind.

Can I say this man is stringent because he has not learn to be flexible, that it's ok when a person changes his/her mind?

  • I think you’re modeling stringent as uptight, and there is more overlap, but stringent is more akin to strict, rules-following and -enforcing, a martinent. Now, a martinent is uptight, but that’s not all his is. I think what would help you most for your needs is to look up synonyms up uptight in a thesaurus. – Dan Bron Dec 17 '17 at 17:18
  • thank you for clarifying this to me.. your comment has been greatly helpful.. – Doris Maldonado Dec 17 '17 at 17:51
  • No problem. By the way, for whatever reason, I spelled martinet wrong (twice!) above. There is only one n, after the i (and none before the final t). – Dan Bron Dec 17 '17 at 17:55
  • 2
    Did you try a dictionary? Under stringent, mine says:"Requiring strict attention to rules, procedure, detail, etc". Does that help? – WS2 Dec 17 '17 at 22:28

I believe that you are confusing the word stringent with the closely related but somewhat different word strict.

Oxford Dictionaries Online says that stringent is a word used specifically for “regulations, requirements, or conditions”. As such, it is not a good fit for use on people. They prove many, many examples, including these few:

  • ‘For this reason, the World Bank imposed stringent conditions on Chad and Cameroon.’
  • ‘This is now rare, as there are stringent regulations to limit exposure to such a hazard.’
  • ‘He also argues that more stringent requirements need to be laid down.’
  • ‘The council claims Hornets have still to meet certain stringent conditions that were important to the deal.’

So the word does mean “strict, precise, and exacting”, but only for regulations and such, not for personalities. Personalities can be those other things, however. If a person is strict, then they expect rules about behavior to be followed closely, without deviation from the appointed course. More Oxford examples, this time for strict:

  • ‘Most people try to put at least some distance between them and their parents, particularly if they've undergone a strict upbringing.’
  • ‘Later a delegation demanded strict action from chief minister and state home minister.’
  • ‘The boys had obviously gotten a pretty strict upbringing both at home and at school.’
  • ‘James Sette's mother may well have had a strict and difficult upbringing, but at least she survived to have a life.’
  • ‘During the Victorian lesson, Ms Roberts had the pupils reciting prayers by rote and kept the classroom atmosphere strict and formal.’
  • ‘One parent is too strict with the children, the other too easy-going.’

I hope you can see now the difference in usage between these two closely related words.


I believe "stringent" is mostly used in connection of rules, regulations, tests etc. You might consider using stubborn, inflexible or rigid in connection to the man.

Usage of Stringent: Stringent laws have been enforced for environment protection

  • yes, stubborn, inflexible, and/or rigid sound way much better.. it best describes the man.. thank you for your comment.. very helpful.. – Doris Maldonado Dec 17 '17 at 17:54

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