I need a positive word to describe a person who usually sets a lot of rules for himself and also for others and always adheres to his rigid principles. For example, a man who is always punctual, keeps promises, avoids what he thinks they are hamful to his health, so on.

4 Answers 4


What is wrong with principled?

principled (adj) of a person or their behavior acting in accordance with morality and showing recognition of right and wrong


A stickler is a person who insists on behaving a certain way (usually adherent to a fixed principle or set of principles).

Definition: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/stickler


A person who insists on a certain quality or type of behaviour.

‘he's a stickler for accuracy’

‘I'm a stickler when it comes to timekeeping’

So you can say (for example): "He's a stickler for punctuality." and so on.

  • 1
    I think sticklers often impose their expectations on others, not just themselves.
    – Barmar
    Jan 26, 2018 at 8:00

I'd call such a man disciplined (or self-disciplined if I wanted to point out that they're setting the rules for themselves). Scrupulous is also a good word to point out their strict adherence to rules.


"Rigid principles" might convey some negative connotations about the person to which "perfectionist" might be a suitable description, but we are asked for a positive word. I suggest "conscientious": SOED: "habitually governed by a sense of duty; scrupulous."

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    Yeeeesss, but what else is relevant or worth knowing about it in this context? When might it be useful and when not? Why? Please edit to explain things more helpfully. Jan 26, 2018 at 6:19

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