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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ It is the work of a pedant, and shows no originality.
▪ A right little pedant she can be, when it comes to an intellectual argument.
▪ Anyway, Oliver's a pedant.
▪ He's a great pedant, Oliver.
▪ He claims that he was a little pedant, even as early as the age of five.
▪ True pedants add the proviso that an edge can not also be a node.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pedant \Ped"ant\, n. [F. p['e]dant, It. pedante, fr. Gr. ? to instruct, from pai^s boy. See Pedagogue.]

  1. A schoolmaster; a pedagogue. [Obs.]

    A pedant that keeps a school i'th' church.

  2. One who puts on an air of learning; one who makes a vain display of learning; a pretender to superior knowledge.

    A scholar, yet surely no pedant, was he.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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.


n. 1 (context archaic English) A teacher or schoolmaster. 2 A person who emphasizes his/her knowledge through the use of vocabulary. 3 (label en slang) A person who is overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning.


n. a person who pays more attention to formal rules and book learning than they merit [syn: bookworm, scholastic]


A pedant is a person who is excessively concerned with formalism, accuracy, and precision, or one who makes an ostentatious and arrogant show of learning.

Usage examples of "pedant".

I have seen her more than once make game, with infinite wit, of the Abbe Gobelin, her confessor, who is a pedant and avaricious, I am persuaded that she knows much more about it than all these proud doctors in theology, and that she would be thoroughly capable of confessing her confessor.

Nothing, I feel, is more dangerous to the health of poetry than the praise given by a group of irresponsible disciples to verse which transfers commonplace thought to an exaggerated, violent, and involved scheme of diction, and I confess that I should regard the future of poetry in this country with much more apprehension than I do, if I believed that the purely learned poet, the prosodical pedant, was destined to become paramount amongst us.

Anyone thinking of translating history, poetry, foreign tales or works of classical rhetoric, taking their cue from Cicero and a couple of words of Horace, would despise the literalist as a plodding, and scarcely civilised pedant.

Theodoric should be rescued from the dastardly discipline of women and pedants, and educated, like a valiant Goth, in the society of his equals and the glorious ignorance of his ancestors.

Will, grown tall and earnest-looking, played the pedant Rhombus, a stock comedy character he was good at: pedants and scholars with mouthfuls of inkhorn terms he alone of the boys could commit easily to memory.

He had a look half pedant, half bully, and he spoke with a one-quarter-drunken, owllike solemnity.

These irregular troops of horse might be criticised by martinets and pedants, but they contained some of the finest fighting material in the army, some urged on by personal hatred of the Boers and some by mere lust of adventure.

There was the regular drilling for the church services, to be sure: solfeggi and psalms, psalms and solfeggi--always apt to degenerate, under a pedant, into the dreariest of mechanical routine.

Nietzsche took pains to proclaim his Polish origin and abominated Germany, a country, according to him, of middle-class pedants.

But the idea of this dried-up pedant, this elaborator of small explanations about as important as the surplus stock of false antiquities kept in a vendor's back chamber, having first got this adorable young creature to marry him, and then passing his honeymoon away from her, groping after his mouldy futilities (Will was given to hyperbole)-- this sudden picture stirred him with a sort of comic disgust: he was divided between the impulse to laugh aloud and the equally unseasonable impulse to burst into scornful invective.

He was a pedant, to the most extreme point, the greatest pedant I had met on earth, and with that had a vanity only befitting Alexander of Macedon.

He desired that society should labor without relaxation at the elevation of the moral and intellectual level, at coining science, at putting ideas into circulation, at increasing the mind in youthful persons, and he feared lest the present poverty of method, the paltriness from a literary point of view confined to two or three centuries called classic, the tyrannical dogmatism of official pedants, scholastic prejudices and routines should end by converting our colleges into artificial oyster beds.

For none but reactionary pedants, who fail to grasp the nature of modern industry's rise and growth, can think that any single instance of commercial exchange is but a fleeting node in the complex matrix of modern economic intercourse.

I have observed some satirists to use the public much at the rate that pedants do a naughty boy, ready horsed for discipline: first expostulate the case, then plead the necessity of the rod from great provocations, and conclude every period with a lash.

Treuge, a dottering half-blind pedant, who ought to have been pensioned years before.