I want to convey the meaning of "stuck in one's ways" or "stuck in one's old ways" in a formal way.

Consider the sentence:

The organizations are, for now, very much _______________.


9 Answers 9


You can say that the organizations are resistant to change. Here resistance means

The refusal to accept or comply with something

[Oxford Dictionary of English]


I suggest the word hidebound.

adj. "Unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention." - Lexico

or "having an inflexible or ultraconservative character." - Merriam-Webster

  • Late to the party....
    – Wastrel
    May 6, 2020 at 15:09
  • Maybe late to the party, but you beat me to it with this answer so +1
    – Andy
    May 6, 2020 at 15:32


Becoming rigid and unresponsive; losing the ability to adapt.

‘sclerotic management’

definition from lexico

Some hits in COCA:

France along with many of the other countries in the E.U. have a sclerotic economy that's not producing the jobs

Barack Obama's vision of centralized government, surrounded by a web of sclerotic bureaucracies

You'll also see how far the new director plans to take this sclerotic state institution in the direction of " up and out. "

Seems to fit the bill perfectly.


You could change the structure of the sentence and use the word entrenched:

For the organisations, these ways of operation are very much entrenched.


You could say they are stuck in their old ways but you are looking for less casual terms.

In formal terms they rely on more traditional methods or they could be said to stick with traditional ways. For very formal terms you would substitute sticks to with adheres to but the vocabulary starts to get in the way.

Their ways are from the previous century or ...a bygone age

They have learned nothing of modern ways.

I often feel the same way.

  • And this one too
    – user385888
    May 28, 2020 at 7:43
  • Why aren't you nice! (x4)
    – Elliot
    May 29, 2020 at 4:14

They are "obdurate". Or, if that doesn't fit well, you could use a different appropriate synonym.

The organizations are, for now, very much "obdurate" and resistant to change.

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/obdurate https://www.freethesaurus.com/obdurate


The organizations are, for now, very much inflexible.

Lexico has


1 Unwilling to change or compromise.

1.1 Not able to be changed or adapted to particular circumstances.


For a truly formal word, you can't beat: conservative.

I can tell my Aunt, straight to her face, that the Dayton Historical Society is conservative, and she won't be offended. It equally means "stuck in their ways" as it does the more positive "stays with tried and true tradition". There's a possible confusion with conservative/liberal in politics, but not in context: "how about a tik-tok challenge to raise money?", "doubt it -- the DHS is pretty conservative. Just getting a Facebook page was like pulling teeth."

Conservative also means dowdy, anti-sex and such, but in context it's back to stuck in their ways: "I've been trying to get Boston Dildo to make their double-ended in different sizes, but they're just too conservative to listen."


Another word for it is "moribund", which dictionary.com has (defn 3) meaning "not progressing or advancing; stagnant".

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