Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who insists on something unyieldingly: a stickler for neatness.
  • n. Something puzzling or difficult.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who stickles.
  • n. One who arbitrates a duel; a sidesman to a fencer; a second; an umpire.
  • n. One who pertinaciously contends for some trifling things, as a point of etiquette; an unreasonable, obstinate contender.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An attendant on or a judge of a contest, as a duel; a second; hence, an arbitrator; a peacemaker.
  • n. An obstinate contender about anything, often about a thing of little consequence: as, a stickler for ceremony; an advocate; a partizan.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who insists on something

Etymologies

From stickle +‎ -er. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The main stickler is that by the end of the book, the reader is left without a sense of closure.

    REVIEW: Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds

  • Now the only stickler is that it just so happens she’s out of town on business this week and doesn’t know she’s switching.

    My wife is switching to Apple OS X, she just doesn’t know it yet! — Meandering Passage

  • Diane Groomes was known as a stickler for the rules City Desk

    DeMorning DeBonis: Nov. 24, 2010

  • Mr. Ulrich, known as a stickler for detail, relied on its heritage of upscale merchandising and uncluttered aisles to make Target stand out.

    Target Promotes Steinhafel to CEO Post

  • His main job is penciling — creating the initial drawings, based on stories from writers, which are then finished by inkers — and he is known as a stickler for detail.

    Archie: American Idol

  • There is no accepted coaching category called stickler or nitpicker.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Cardenas, who bends over to pick up a piece of popcorn off the suite's carpeted floor, is also known as a stickler for cleanliness and a borderline perfectionist.

    chicagotribune.com -

  • Harvard Law graduate who was known as a stickler for detail while a lawyer in private practice.

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  • On the other hand, he was always known as a stickler for the rules; none of his teams were ever cited for violations by the NCAA, and he graduated a very high percentage of his players throughout his career.

    About.com Basketball

  • Not to be a "stickler" for accuracy, but if you have said 'dork disc' in your possession, would not the obvious conclusion be that J.G. is, in fact, not, and I'm quoting here, "riding a bicycle with a dork disc" which would render your entire train of thought erroneous?

    Posable Figures: Playing With Yourself

Comments

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  • Interesting! I'm looking at my "Sticklers Unite" editor's plaque in a whole new light. ;-)

    October 10, 2008

  • I've heard and used this word many times, but was surprised to find out its military/dueling origins:

    "STICKLER, a sides-man to a fencer, or a second to a duelist (sic)." (citation in list description)

    Makes sense, then, that this word is often used to describe "someone who demands exact conformity to rules." I would too, if someone's life depended on it.

    October 9, 2008