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 While its sister show Jeopardy is better known as a pedant's paradise (misspeaking or misspelling has long been known to sink contestants), every now and then Wheel of Fortune gets in on the action. Tyler Aquilina,, 1 Apr. 2021 Deeply learned, Morris was more a student of history than a teacher—always an enthusiast, never a pedant. Rachel Donadio, Travel + Leisure, 8 Dec. 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, 26 June 2019 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, 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, 9 Feb. 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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Dictionary Entries Near pedant

pedal stop



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Cite this Entry

“Pedant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for pedant



English Language Learners Definition of pedant

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pedant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pedant

Nglish: Translation of pedant for Spanish Speakers


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