What do you call a person who always follows the rules, at the expense of everything else? I’m thinking there’s one word that can describe this, but I can’t place it.
A jobsworth is “someone who always obeys the rules of their job exactly, even when it would be more sensible not to”.
You could say the person is a stickler (sometimes clarified with for: “a stickler for the rules”, “a stickler for accuracy”, “a stickler for grammar”) if you mean they enforce rules or process that others don't.
The Free Dictionary Online would say that person is:
A person inflexibly attached to a practice or theory without regard to its practicality.
This is also the adjective form. An alternative noun form is doctrinarian.
Also, in Biblical usage, a Pharisee.
I’ve encountered a few people that you describe. Often, they were bureaucrats:
An official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.¹
The noun-form of the adjective in your question’s title should suffice: pedant.
I'm guessing you're thinking of dogmatic because it’s a fairly common term, the sort that would perch right there on the tip of your tongue. It’s not the best term in the answers given so far, however.
If we focus on the “at the expense of everything else” part of your question, both fanatic and the previously mentioned zealot are good options. Adjectival variations include fanatical rule-follower, a fanatic for X, etc.
From a different perspective, a martinet is a strict rule-follower, but the term is less used nowadays. Martinet has a pseudo-military connotation and draws focus to making other people follow the rules.
If that person is also very bad at poetry, you can use the term Vogon.
If you were using this term in a gaming context, that person would be known as a "rules lawyer".
A bigot comes to mind.
Also, Zealot (close to Pharisee) might work
(non native here)
You would say that the person is orthodox.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, reads:
Orthodox: adj. Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional: an orthodox view of world affairs.
You could say such a person is lawful.
Conforming to, permitted by, or recognised by law or rules.
A nazi? (In the “soup nazi” sense.)
If you are looking for an informal or mildly insulting word, try anal.
Suzy is anal about political discussions in the office.
A “pedantic rule-follower” is called a tautology, because pedantic means rule-follower, so if you aren't on the search for tautology, you are searching a pedant.
Not sure of the original question, but id say that the best word for "rule follower, " is bureaucrat. God dammed bureaucrat. No skilled, bastards. Live in stale cubicles, starring at a computer all day, smelling someones leftover dinner being reheated in the break room microwave. Dreaming up rules for others to follow. Can you tell I'm self employed?
protected by tchrist♦ Jul 6 '14 at 23:52
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