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[ped-nt] /ˈpɛd nt/
a person who makes an excessive or inappropriate display of learning.
a person who overemphasizes rules or minor details.
a person who adheres rigidly to book knowledge without regard to common sense.
Obsolete. a schoolmaster.
Origin of pedant
1580-90; < Italian pedante teacher, pedant; apparently akin to pedagogue; see -ant
Related forms
pedantesque, adjective
pedanthood, noun
2. hairsplitter. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pedant
  • It is not just the pedants who persist in this usage.
  • Maybe I'm just a pedant at heart.
  • I'm just being a wizened little pedant, but you got me riled up.
  • Carlos is an eccentric pedant of about forty.
  • It is the finest piece that has been composed, as some pedant has said, since the Romans died.
  • He now suspected that back of Simon's needle-pointed teeth beat the anxious heart of an overextended pedant.
  • 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.
  • Such words as assassination, pedant, obscene and premeditated appeared first in Shakespeare.
  • Don't bait the pedant.
  • He was no longer addressing his peers by then but ministering to youthful acolytes, playing the pacifist pedant of the past.
British Dictionary definitions for pedant


a person who relies too much on academic learning or who is concerned chiefly with insignificant detail
(archaic) a schoolmaster or teacher
Word Origin
C16: via Old French from Italian pedante teacher; perhaps related to Latin paedagōguspedagogue
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pedant

1580s, "schoolmaster," from Middle French pédant (1560s) or directly from Italian pedante, literally "teacher, schoolmaster," of uncertain origin, apparently an alteration of Late Latin paedagogantem (nominative paedagogans), present participle of paedagogare (see pedagogue). Meaning "person who trumpets minor points of learning" first recorded 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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