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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.
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 pedants
  • It will be painful for the pedants, but beneficial in the long run.
  • Some ridiculous pedants on here discussing spelling instead of this wonderful astronomical event.
  • Dainty aesthetes and goateed pedants could apply elsewhere.
  • As in duty bound, he who had been admitted to these banquets of wit and sense defended them against the detraction of pedants.
  • It is with us and will remain with us, whatever pedants and purists may say.
  • They were pedants but also courtiers abounding in compliments to royal and noble patrons and friends and fellow poets.
  • Monetary pedants will argue that in the long run inflation is determined by monetary policy.
  • pedants will wince at some of his more egregious theoretical simplifications.
  • Only this time the pedants are studying the evolution of jazz instead of the etymology of contemporary slang.
British Dictionary definitions for pedants


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 pedants



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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