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See more synonyms for stickler on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person who insists on something unyieldingly (usually followed by for): a stickler for ceremony.
  2. any puzzling or difficult problem.
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Origin of stickler

First recorded in 1530–40; stickle + -er1

Synonyms for stickler

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for stickler

taskmaster, nitpicker, disciplinarian, fanatic, enforcer, riddle, mystery, paradox, enigma, twister, stumper, teaser, zealot, contender, haggler, higgler

Examples from the Web for stickler

Contemporary Examples of stickler

Historical Examples of stickler

  • This fairy was a stickler for the correct use of every word.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • But, remember this, I'm under a general who's a stickler for the book, so be careful.

  • Elpaso was notoriously 54 a stickler for a square deal at cards.

    Nan of Music Mountain

    Frank H. Spearman

  • This was a strenuous day's work, particularly if the star was a stickler.

  • Gerald was a stickler for correct Latin grammar; he is great on “howlers.”

    Medival Wales

    A. G. Little

British Dictionary definitions for stickler


  1. (usually foll by for) a person who makes insistent demandsa stickler for accuracy
  2. a problem or puzzlethe investigation proved to be a stickler
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for stickler


1530s, "moderator, umpire," from stickle "mediate" (1520s), probably a frequentative of Middle English stihen "to arrange, place," from Old English stihan "to arrange order," which is cognate with Middle Dutch stichten, German stiften "to found, establish," probably from Proto-Germanic *stihtan "to place on a step or base," from PIE root *steigh- "to stride, step, rise" (see stair). Meaning "person who contends or insists stubbornly" is first recorded 1640s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper