From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The Pedant" by caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson

A pedant (/ˈpɛd.ənt/ PED-ent) is a person who is excessively concerned with formalism, accuracy and precision, or one who makes an ostentatious and arrogant show of learning.


The English language word pedant comes from the French pédant (used in 1566 in Darme & Hatzfeldster's Dictionnaire général de la langue française) or its older mid-15th century Italian source pedante, 'teacher, schoolmaster'.[1][2] (Compare the Spanish pedante.[3]) The origin of the Italian pedante is uncertain, but several dictionaries suggest that it was contracted from the medieval Latin pædagogans, present participle of pædagogare, 'to act as pedagogue, to teach' (Du Cange)[4] (see pedagogy).[5][6] The Latin word is derived from Greek παιδαγωγός, paidagōgós, παιδ- 'child' + ἀγειν 'to lead', which originally referred to a slave who escorted children to and from school but later meant "a source of instruction or guidance".[7][8]

Medical conditions[edit]

Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is in part characterized by a form of pedantry that is excessively concerned with the correct following of rules, procedures, and practices.[9] Sometimes the rules that OCPD sufferers obsessively follow are of their own devising, or are corruptions or reinterpretations of the letter of actual rules.

Pedantry can also be an indication of specific developmental disorders. In particular, people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (formerly Asperger syndrome) often have behaviour characterized by pedantic speech.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "pédant". Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  2. ^ "Pedantic – Examples and Definition of Pedantic". Literary Devices. 2015-05-29. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  3. ^ O'Brian, Robert D. (2014-02-18). A Comparative Vocabulary Study Guide: Spanish to Portuguese to English to Chinese. First Edition Design Pub. ISBN 978-1-62287-544-3.
  4. ^ "pedant". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fifth ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Pedantic - Examples and Definition of Pedantic". Literary Devices. 2015-05-29. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  6. ^ Chambers, William (1878). Chambers's Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. W. & R. Chambers.
  7. ^ pedant, n. and adj. The Oxford English Dictionary (Draft ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-08-07.
  8. ^ Harper, Douglas. "pedant". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  9. ^ Anankastic personality disorder Archived 2001-04-17 at the Wayback Machine. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10).
  10. ^ "Asperger's Syndrome: Guidelines for Assessment and Intervention". 2007-04-07. Archived from the original on April 7, 2007. Retrieved 2013-07-25.