overly concerned with minor details and rules or displaying one’s learning or education excessively; having a narrow, superficial focus on academic minutiae and formality at the expense of more important or meaningful elements


US English

UK English

Part of speech



meticulous, precise, fastidious, scholarly, nitpicky, academic, scholarly, fussy, scholarly, scholarly, strict, stiff


relaxed, casual, informal, unassuming, broad-minded, open-minded

Example sentences

  • He was criticized for being too pedantic in his approach to teaching, spending too much time on minor details and not enough on the big picture.
  • The research paper was well-written but too pedantic, filled with technical jargon and academic references that made it difficult to understand.
  • She was known for her pedantic personality, always correcting others’ grammar and pronunciation and being overly concerned with etiquette and proper manners.


The term “pedantic” is often used in a negative or critical way to describe someone who is overly concerned with minor details and academic rules, to the point where they become a hindrance rather than a help. It is used to describe individuals who place too much emphasis on formality, learning, and education, and who are unable to see the bigger picture or appreciate more meaningful aspects of a situation. However, in certain contexts, such as in academia, being pedantic can be seen as a positive quality, as it demonstrates a strong attention to detail and a rigorous commitment to following rules and procedures. The usage of the term “pedantic” will depend on the context and the speaker’s perspective.