Is there a term that could describe this sort of person? Like, an eye for detail in arts, an eye for detail as to what is the cause of a conflict (something which other people hadn't seen yet), an eye for detail, which is why a photo was taken from the right angle or perspective.


5 Answers 5


You mention two different use cases.

an eye for detail in arts ... an eye for detail, which is why a photo was taken from the right angle or perspective

Like jimsug and ChristopherW, my immediate inclinations are meticulous and keen- or sharp-eyed. I don't know of a single adjective (or even a concise phrase) which has this meaning and also carries a specifically artistic connotation. I can only recommend general terms and suggest that you add modifiers to specify the artistic bent. Other potential choices:

an eye for detail as to what is the cause of a conflict (something which other people hadn't seen yet)

For this case, I'd use astute. 1, 2. It applies specifically to situational assessment, and I would not use it to describe an artist's attention to detail, e.g. when painting or composing a photograph.


You could call them:

  • meticulous, though this might have a negative connotation, depending on the context - as has been pointed out, not always:

    very precise about details, even trivial ones; painstaking

  • vigilant, though this has a bit of a supervisory/oversight connotation to it:

    keenly alert to or heedful of trouble or danger, as while others are sleeping or unsuspicious

And.. both of those entries have synonyms and links to thesaurus entries:

thorough, detailed, particular, strict, exact, precise, microscopic, fussy, painstaking, perfectionist, scrupulous, fastidious, punctilious, nit-picky

watchful, alert, on the lookout, careful, cautious, attentive, circumspect, wide awake, on the alert, on your toes, wakeful, on your guard, on the watch, on the qui vive, Argus-eyed, keeping your eyes peeled or skinned

I'm intuiting that what you want is closer to meticulous than painstaking, though.

  • I was looking for a positive term, mainly. Like, some people's brains might just enable them to have more eye for detail. Some of the terms you mentioned are a bit negative, perhaps? Like, fussy, painstaking and nit-picky e.g.
    – user76935
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 10:51
  • 3
    I'm not sure I'd describe "meticulous" as having a negative connotation. To describe someone as being negatively detail-orientated, I'd probably use words like pedantic, nit-picker or fussy
    – Matt
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 11:53
  • @Matt true, this would depend on the co-text/context.
    – jimsug
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 12:26

I usually refer to people like this as observant.

Ted noticed that Kathy and Carol are no longer friend despite always being cordial.

Yea, he's a pretty observant person.

Observant is not typically used with tangible objects though. While it can be, I believe jimsug's first word is a better fit.

Another word that comes to mind is thorough. Thorough simply means that all the details have been examined. You would want a thorough airplane mechanic running quality control to ensure planes are ready for takeoff. You would want an observant manager to realize that a mechanic is thorough enough for the job of quality control.


The another lesser known term for it is "anal". This wikipeida link must be able to help you


I’d go with perceiver or percipient that are defined as:

A person who becomes aware (of things or events) through the senses.

One that perceives.

  • -1 because those sound extremely unidiomatic to me. An English speaker would be much more likely to use the adjective perceptive than percipient.
    – Matt
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 11:54
  • @ Matt, thank you, I fairly appreciate that you explained your reasons. If anyone did like you we, learners, would really be helped and the site would function better. Commented May 26, 2014 at 12:10
  • @LucianSava But if you changed your answer to say perceptive, I could upvote it :-)
    – user230
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 13:20
  • @Snailplane, sorry but I'm afraid I can’t do that. Perceptive was my first reaction but I couldn’t find to be defined as a noun, all dictionaries define it only as adjective, and I think OP asks for a noun. Commented May 26, 2014 at 13:37
  • 1
    @LucianSava Oh! I'm sorry, I thought percipient was (only) an adjective, so I didn't realize you were trying for nouns specifically. I see now that dictionaries say it's a noun, too! (I don't see any indication that the question is asking for a noun, but I s'pose someone could ask the OP and find out!)
    – user230
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 13:40

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