22 Words for Someone Who Follows the Rules

If you’re unsure what to call a person who always follows the rules, this article should provide some inspiration!

Down below, you’ll find a list of words and phrases that you can use to describe the opposite of a rebel. So, stick around and you might just find your next favorite word for a rule-follower!

Words for Someone Who Follows the Rules

  • Obedient
  • Stickler
  • Wowser
  • Compliant
  • Law-abiding
  • Dutiful
  • Prig
  • Jobsworth
  • Goody two-shoes
  • Goody goody
  • Conformist
  • Square
  • Fanatic
  • Puritan
  • Priss
  • Prude
  • Stick-in-the-mud
  • Dogmatist
  • Formalist
  • Bureaucrat
  • Straightlaced
  • Brown nose


  • “Obedient” is a good example of how to describe someone who follows the rules in a neutral way.
  • If you want to be more critical of someone who follows the rules, you might call them a “stickler.”
  • “Wowser” is another nickname for an avid rule-follower.

Keep reading to see how we use our top three synonyms for someone who always follows the rules in a couple of practical examples sentences.

Moreover, we’ll explain each of our choices in more detail.


If you’re looking for a word to describe someone who always follows the rules without being confrontational, you can simply go with “obedient.”

Firstly, Merriam-Webster defines the word “obedient” as “submissive to the restraint or command of authority: willing to obey.”

Secondly, this term is very literal and doesn’t carry any particularly negative or positive connotations.

Therefore, calling someone “obedient” is not an insult by any means. In fact, it is very tonally neutral. Thus, you can use this word to describe a person who follows the rules without being critical of that person.

Finally, consider the examples below to see this phrase in action:

Cole is a very obedient child, but it seems that he’s having trouble paying attention during class discussions.

If they were honest in the job description, they’d say they were looking for someone obedient who wouldn’t ask any questions.


“Stickler” is a nickname for someone who never breaks the rules and is, therefore, viewed in a negative light by others.

According to Merriam-Webster, a “stickler” is “one who insists on exactness or completeness in the observance of something.”

Often, you might hear someone being called “a stickler for the rules.” This means that they pride themselves on carefully adhering to any rules of their school or company.

Primarily, the word “sticker” carries some negative connotations. Generally, you would use it to describe someone who adheres so strictly to rules that they are dull and unadventurous.

They won’t take any risks or have any fun. In other words, a “stickler” is usually considered a boring person by their peers.

Therefore, let’s see how you might use this phrase in a few examples:

Randall is a total stickler; you’ll never get him to go against what the boss says.

Maybe if you weren’t such a stickler for the rules, we wouldn’t be in this mess!


Another word for someone who is an avid rule-follower is a “wowser.” This is another synonym that carries some negative connotations.

Merriam-Webster defines a “wowser” as “an obtrusively puritanical person.” Moreover, “puritanical” is defined as “characterized by a rigid morality.”

Generally, puritanical people have a reputation for being judgmental of others, especially when they don’t meet certain rigid moral standards. Thus, “wowser” is a more casual nickname for a puritanical person.

In other words, you usually use the word “wowser” in a derisive way. It implies that you find that person irritatingly prudish or uppity.

Finally, to see this term in action, let’s look at a few example sentences:

I haven’t spoken to Jasper in years but, from what I can remember, he was a total wowser and an absolute nightmare to hang out with.

People won’t want to be your friend if you behave like a wowser, Beth.