A Word A Day : Pedantic

Monday, 28th January 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Adjective )

Pronunciation : pe-dán-tik

1. too concerned with what are thought to be correct rules and details, e.g. in language

2. characterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for book learning and formal rules

3. ostentatious in one's learning

4. characteristic of scholars or scholarship


Origin: 1590–1600 - pedante - teacher


abstruse, academic, arid, didactic, doctrinaire, donnish, dry, dull, egotistic, erudite, formal, fussy, hairsplitting, learned, nitpicking, ostentatious, overnice, particular, pedagogic, pompous, precise, priggish, punctilious, scholastic, schoolish, sententious, stilted, bookish, formalistic, inkhorn, literary, pedantical


Eempirical describes results determined by experiment and observed behavior or facts.

Theoretical describes results that are based on guesswork or hypothesis.

Pragmatic is contrasted with theoretical on the grounds that the former proceeds from what is demonstrably practical, the latter from conjecture.


ignorant, nonstudious, practical, real world, rough-and-tumble, unschooled, untaught, untutored

Contextual Examples:

• Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men's judgments of one another.

• He is never pedantic, and, for all his close adherence to broad principles, he is ready to admit that no two ships can be treated exactly alike.

• He was continually traveling through the three provinces entrusted to him, was pedantic in the fulfillment of his duties, severe to cruelty with his subordinates, and went into everything down to the minutest details himself.

• The discussion quickly turned pedantic as each participant tried to sound more learned than all others.

• Perivale’s feelings about love were mostly pedantic. He has read about love in books but had never really encountered it in his life.

• The professor's interpretation of the poem was pedantic and empty of genuine feeling.

• A pedantic person is called a pedant.

Related Words:

pedantical : Adjective

pedantically : Adverb

pedanticalness : Noun

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