Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One who ostentatiously exhibits academic knowledge or who pays undue attention to minor details or formal rules.
  • noun Obsolete A schoolmaster.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A schoolmaster; a teacher; a pedagogue.
  • noun A person who overrates erudition, or lays an undue stress on exact knowledge of detail or of trifles, as compared with larger matters or with general principles; also, one who makes an undue or inappropriate display of learning.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete A schoolmaster; a pedagogue.
  • noun One who puts on an air of learning; one who makes a vain display of learning; a pretender to superior knowledge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete A teacher or schoolmaster.
  • noun A person who is overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning.
  • noun A person who emphasizes his/her knowledge through the use of vocabulary.

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

  • noun a person who pays more attention to formal rules and book learning than they merit

Etymologies

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

[French pédant or Italian pedante (French, from Italian), possibly from Vulgar Latin *paedēns, *paedent-, present participle of *paedere, to instruct, probably from Greek paideuein, from pais, paid-, child; see pedo–.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French pedant, pedante, from Italian pedante ("a teacher, schoolmaster, pedant"), of uncertain origin, traced by some sources to Latin paedagogans, present participle of paedagogare ( = to teach, from Greek "paedagogein" = to instruct children ). Confer French pédant.

Examples

  • In contrast, a pedant is a supercilious show-off who drops references to Sophocles and masks his shallowness by using words like “fulgent” and “supercilious.”

    Archive 2008-11-01

  • In contrast, a pedant is a supercilious show-off who drops references to Sophocles and masks his shallowness by using words like “fulgent” and “supercilious.”

    Amen to intellectualism!

  • But any woman who could use that word pedant, I reasoned, call her ex-husband “duplicitous” and a “narcissist,” and describe an assistant manager we both worked for as a “troglodyte” was a woman I felt I could spend time talking to and perhaps even want to live with, despite the three kids, a first husband, and her extra year in age.

    Closing Time

  • A prig or a pedant was his favourite butt, and the performance was rendered all the more effective by his elaborate assumption of the _grand seigneur's_ manner.

    Collections and Recollections

  • I might likewise mention the law pedant, that is perpetually putting eases, repeating the transactions of Westminster

    The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to prose. Volume III (of X) - Great Britain and Ireland I

  • He did not like a mere smattering of literary chatter; he did not like to be called a pedant; but he knew, if any man did, what literature was and what was knowledge.

    Sketches of Travel in Normandy and Maine

  • In Shakespeare's day, a pedant was a male schoolteacher.

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • 'pedant' -- very frequently a 'pedant,' and now, it seems I am an

    The Broad Highway

  • Athaeneus, to philosophers and travellers, an opiniative ass, a caviller, a kind of pedant; for his manners, as Theod.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • He appeared to them to be a queer kind of pedant; they did not care for him, and made no overtures to him, and he avoided them.

    A House of Gentlefolk

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