What adjective describes somebody who is quiet and obeys all the rules? For example,

"Xiaoli is a very (adj.) student because she doesn't smoke or drink, gets good grades, and always does her homework ahead of time".

The word that comes to mind is obedient, but I think this word has the negative connotation in the way that a servant would "obey" his master. I'm looking for an entirely positive adjective.

A possible antonym to my word might be wild, which you might use to describe someone who parties all night, gets drunk, etc.

  • You will never find a word that comprises both “doesn’t smoke or drink” and “gets good grades”, because these have nothing to do with each other.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 21:01
  • A possible antonym for wild would be disciplined, though that does not have as wide-ranging a meaning as you want. Your best option would be "Xiaoli is a good girl".
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 12:41
  • If you consider "quiet" and "obedient" to be highly desirable characteristics in a student, then (considering them together with the characteristics "vice-free," "diligent," and "punctual") you might be able to sum up the student as exemplary. Not everyone views "quiet" or even "obedient" as unalloyed virtues, however.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 22:57
  • The first word that came to mind was obsequious, but that doesn't really fit with your sentence.
    – user107141
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 22:59
  • The first word that comes to mind is Pedantic.
    – user194916
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 23:42

7 Answers 7


You can say she is a very well-disciplined student. CED suggests that it has the meaning:

having been strictly trained or conditioned to ensure good behaviour, orderliness, etc

Or you can simply call her a model student.

If you want to describe a righteous person, you can use the word


having or showing high moral standards.

or maybe you just want to describe a person who's quiet and obeys all the rules, in other words,


meekly ready to accept and follow instructions.

  • There are two kinds of students in this world: virtual students — and real students. :)
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 21:16

Your question is tricky, because it's entirely possible for a student to live a “wild” lifestyle, yet still turn their homework in on time, and get good grades. Not all party animals bring home bad grades, and not all stoners fail to turn their homework in on time.

One term that sprang to my mind is goody two-shoes (although, I'll have to admit, that term is often used pejoratively). Many dictionaries define goody two-shoes to be an alternate form of goody-goody, which, according to Collins, is defined as:

goody-goody (noun) a smugly virtuous or sanctimonious person

However, at least Merriam-Webster allows for the term to be used in a more positive light:

goody two-shoes (noun) a person who is goody-goody; also : a person who is uncommonly good

If that doesn't work for you, though, you could use the describe this person as scholarly, or as a conscientious student.

Scholarly has a few different meanings, but I think one found in NOAD aligns with your purposes well:

scholarly (adj.) having or showing knowledge, learning, or devotion to academic pursuits

I would think that devoted to academic pursuits, in particular, might be a fitting description for people like Xiaoli. Conscientious also seems to be an apt word; NOAD defines it as:

conscientious (adj.) wishing to do what is right, esp. to do one's work or duty well and thoroughly

I think conscientious might be my best suggestion, because it carries connotations of both upright living and careful work habits. WordNet defines it as:

conscientious (adj.) 1 guided by or in accordance with conscience or sense of right and wrong
2 characterized by extreme care and great effort

I like Wiktionary's definition as well:

conscientious (adj.) Thorough, careful, or vigilant; implies a desire to do a task well


The judgmental term that replaces "adj" in your sentence is normally good. However, the sentence doesn't necessarily describe someone "who is quiet and obeys all the rules", only someone "who doesn't smoke or drink, gets good grades, and always does her homework ahead of time". Some appropriate words might be compliant, conscientious, docile, dutiful, punctilious, submissive.


You might be describing "a compliant student"

Please see Students As Real People: Interpersonal Communication and Education


I'm thinking the person you describe is a responsible person:

responsible adj
4. Able to make moral or rational decisions on one's own and therefore answerable for one's behavior.
5. Able to be trusted or depended upon; reliable.
6. Based on or characterized by good judgment or sound thinking: responsible journalism.


For just the last two, the "gets good grades, and always does her homework ahead of time", you could consider the word studious. However, that doesn't fit too much with the not smoking and drinking part.


I think I'd call that person a strait-laced rule-follower

strait-laced : Excessively strict in behavior, morality, or opinions.

But I also think that @Arch's virtuous model-student works rather nicely too.

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