anal-retentive

adjective anal-re·ten·tive \ ˈā-nᵊl-ri-ˈten-tiv \
variants: or anal retentive
psychoanalytic theory
: exhibiting or typifying personality traits (such as frugality and obstinacy) held to be psychological consequences of toilet training
  • Overextending psychic energy during the process of toilet training by holding back can result in fixating at the anal stage, creating an anal retentive personality as an adult. The anal retentive personality is characterized by the tendency to cope with conflicts later in life by demonstrating an extreme sense of cleanliness and orderliness, such as dusting furniture or waxing the car when troubled.
  • —Bernardo J. Carducci
often used in nontechnical contexts to describe someone as extremely or excessively neat, careful, or precise
  • … is his father's clone—intense, focused, fuddy-duddy, severely anal-retentive, or as Archie puts it, "a neat freak."
  • —Curry Kirkpatrick

anal-retentive

or anal retentive noun
    • Anal-retentives hoping to use PCs to organize their lives …
    • The Washington Post

anal-retentiveness

or anal retentiveness noun
    • … maybe it's my anal retentiveness, my futile attempts to bring order to a chaotic world. Who knows? All I know is there's no more beautiful sight than firewood stacked in long, perfect rows.
    • —Craig Wilson

First Known Use of anal-retentive

1943

in the meaning defined above

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ANAL-RETENTIVE Defined for English Language Learners

anal-retentive

  • : extremely or overly neat, careful, or precise


Medical Dictionary

anal-retentive

adjective anal-re·ten·tive \ ˈān-ᵊl-ri-ˈten-tiv \
: characterized by personality traits (as frugality and obstinacy) held to be psychological sequelae of toilet training : anal 2b

anal retentiveness

noun

anal retentive

noun
: an anal-retentive individual

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