a person who insists on something unyieldingly (usually followed by for): a stickler for ceremony.
any puzzling or difficult problem.

Origin of stickler

First recorded in 1530–40; stickle + -er1

Synonyms for stickler Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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



(usually foll by for) a person who makes insistent demandsa stickler for accuracy
a problem or puzzlethe investigation proved to be a stickler
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper