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

  • adjective Characterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for academic knowledge and formal rules.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a pedant or pedantry; overrating the importance of mere learning; also, making an undue or inappropriate display of learning; of language, style, etc., exhibiting pedantry; absurdly learned: as, a pedantic air.

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

  • adjective Of or pertaining to a pedant; characteristic of, or resembling, a pedant; ostentatious of learning

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

  • adjective Like a pedant, overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning.
  • adjective Being showy of one’s knowledge, often in a boring manner.
  • adjective Being finicky or fastidious, especially with language.

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

  • adjective marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning especially its trivial aspects


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From pedant +‎ -ic.


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  • Geez, none of you guys capitalized it even!

    December 3, 2006

  • Example: "Well, Lois, since you asked, I find this meatloaf rather shallow and pedantic."

    December 14, 2006

  • Wordie is like the house that pedantry built. It's a machine for with which to be pedantic. It puts the ped in pedantry.

    December 31, 2006

  • Maybe being pedantic is not necessarily a bad thing? Pedantry has just had a bad press in the past.

    December 31, 2006

  • Wordie apparently doesn't hold on to capitalizations.

    January 4, 2007

  • So, John, can I put the antic in pedantic? :-D

    January 5, 2007

  • "annoyingly proud of learning"

    August 13, 2007

  • "Sawcy pedantique wretch, goe chide Late schooleboyes."

    - John Donne, 'Sunne Rising'.

    August 24, 2009

  • Don't forget the sour prentices.

    August 24, 2009

  • There is nothing so pedantic as pretending not to be pedantic. No man can get above his pursuit in life: it is getting above himself, which is impossible.

    William Hazlitt, "On the Conversation of Authors"

    November 15, 2011

  • I am desperately trying to remember a word. I came across it in a novel about two years ago and recently wanted to use it in an article I was writing. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember it.

    Its meaning is something like hair-splitting -- and a word close to its meaning is "cavillous". The word refers to distinctions that are excessive, perhaps pedantic, unnecessary or self-indulgent.

    I vaguely recall that the word starts with a "d" or a "p". Any ideas?


    September 20, 2013

  • How about punctilious?

    September 23, 2013

  • adjective: marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning especially its trivial aspects

    Professor Thompson was regarded as an expert in his field, but his lectures were utterly pedantic, focused on rigorous details of the most trivial conventions in the field.

    October 19, 2016