straight arrow


: a person who lives by rigidly proper or conventional standards
ˈstrāt-ˌer-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce straight arrow (audio)

Examples of straight arrow in a Sentence

He doesn't drink or smoke. He's a real straight arrow.
Recent Examples on the Web Purdy was such a straight arrow as a kid, his worst transgressions were playing doorbell ditch, Patchett said. Julia Prodis Sulek, The Mercury News, 10 Feb. 2024 David, the straight arrow of the two, is played by Eisenberg in a baseball cap as a vintage Jesse character — earnest and uptight, with a compressed delivery that expresses his nervous nature, yet this is no millennial Woody Allen caricature. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 21 Jan. 2024 Thirty-year-old Julio (Estrada), a straight arrow who works at a nonprofit for former gang members, still lives with his mom (Laura Patalano) and grandma (Julia Vera) in the South Central L.A. home where he was raised. Time, 12 Oct. 2022 Yoon-tak is a straight arrow kind of kid. Joan MacDonald, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 Cooke, who drives a red sports car, smokes cigarettes and carries a flask in his jacket, stands in obvious temperamental contrast to Malcolm, who is both the straight arrow and the nerd of the group, offering them vanilla ice cream and showing off his new Rolleiflex camera. New York Times, 14 Jan. 2021 Progress did not proceed in a straight arrow from bad times then to good times now. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, 11 Feb. 2023 Photos from his high school yearbooks depict a bespectacled straight arrow with a mission-control haircut and a fondness for cardigans and chinos. Outside Online, 5 Nov. 2018 People interviewed for this article described Reinhart as a meticulous lawyer and a straight arrow, someone who generally avoids discussing politics and maintains his professionalism inside and outside the courtroom. Arden Farhi, CBS News, 18 Aug. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'straight arrow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from the expression straight as an arrow

First Known Use

1969, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of straight arrow was in 1969

Dictionary Entries Near straight arrow

Cite this Entry

“Straight arrow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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