ped·​ant | \ ˈpe-dᵊnt How to pronounce pedant (audio) \

Definition of pedant

1a : one who is unimaginative or who unduly emphasizes minutiae in the presentation or use of knowledge
b : one who makes a show of knowledge
c : a formalist or precisionist in teaching
2 obsolete : a male schoolteacher

Examples of pedant in a Sentence

All too often, science fiction provokes the pedant in professional scientists, for whom a beautiful story can be ruined by a single petty error. — Jerry A. Coyne, New York Times Book Review, 10 Oct. 1999 A controversialist, crusty, critical, arrogant, a pedant, he was attacked by his contemporaries for sacrilege, impudence, temerity and presumption—among other imperfections. — Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, 1996 This pioneer of the Age of the Sea, who deserves fame as an opener of the modern mind, has been caught in the cross fire of chauvinists, pedants, and ignorant but enthusiastic men of letters. — Daniel J. Boorstin, The Discoverers, 1983 A zealous pedant, Flaubert defended the accuracy of his historical novels with wearisome tenacity, as if accuracy could compensate for their lack of lived experience. — James Atlas, New York Times Book Review, 17 Oct. 1982
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Recent Examples on the Web Deeply learned, Morris was more a student of history than a teacher—always an enthusiast, never a pedant. Rachel Donadio, Travel + Leisure, "The Extraordinary Life of Jan Morris, Travel Writer and Pioneering Trans Person," 8 Dec. 2020 The 2003 Jack Black film School of Rock was a lousy movie, an aggressively cute, pseudo-hip extension of an Eighties teen comedy — Ferris Bueller become a dumpy pedant. Armond White, National Review, "Reopening the School of Rock," 28 Aug. 2020 Here my inner pedant will not shut up: What if the popularity of the Beatles’ music was as much a product of a specific time and set of circumstances as the music itself? New York Times, "‘Yesterday’ Review: I Saw a Film Today, Oh Boy," 26 June 2019 A day after the drone strike, when House pedant Dan Crenshaw insisted that Trump had a strategy and was following it, Trump wasted little time in contradicting the Texas congressman. David Roth, The New Republic, "The Windbag of War," 21 Jan. 2020 Heck, even the creator of PGP (OK, GPG, for you pedants), Phil Zimmerman himself, asked us back in 2014 to resend something to him in plaintext. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Here’s how to send Ars confidential information, securely," 2 June 2018 Ending a case that electrified punctuation pedants, grammar goons and comma connoisseurs, Oakhurst Dairy settled an overtime dispute with its drivers that hinged entirely on the lack of an Oxford comma in state law. Daniel Victor, New York Times, "Oxford Comma Dispute Is Settled as Maine Drivers Get $5 Million," 9 Feb. 2018 Apostolina is dryly amusing as a strangely noble huckster who plays fast and loose with the law, while Nagle chills as a pedophilic pedant skilled in the art of self-justification. F. Kathleen Foley,, "In Atwater, a dark secret at the center of 'Forever Bound'," 25 May 2018 The internet has always been a cozy home for partisans and pedants, conspiracists and crusaders, but gradually, their spirit has crept into the rest of our lives. Michelle Dean, New York Times, "It’s Getting Harder to Sort the ‘Credible’ from the Incredible," 30 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pedant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pedant

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for pedant

Middle French, from Italian pedante

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Time Traveler for pedant

Time Traveler

The first known use of pedant was in 1588

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Statistics for pedant

Last Updated

21 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pedant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for pedant


How to pronounce pedant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pedant

disapproving : a person who annoys other people by correcting small errors and giving too much attention to minor details

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Nglish: Translation of pedant for Spanish Speakers

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