ped·​ant ˈpe-dᵊnt How to pronounce pedant (audio)
: one who is unimaginative or who unduly emphasizes minutiae in the presentation or use of knowledge
: one who makes a show of knowledge
: a formalist or precisionist in teaching
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
Recent Examples on the Web True, big global history is not for pedants and must be selective to remain accessible. Walter Scheidel, Foreign Affairs, 19 Apr. 2022 This Jet Ski Is Not a Jet Ski Incidentally, for the pedants out there (WIRED salutes you), technically this is not a jet ski, but a personal watercraft, or PWC. WIRED, 18 Nov. 2023 View More As knowledge of Greek has become more exotic—the mark of pedants, nerds, and graduates of expensive schools—capturing the barbarism of ancient Greek, and of the ancient Greeks themselves, has become harder. Graeme Wood, The Atlantic, 2 Oct. 2023 Want to annoy an investing pedant? Spencer Jakab, WSJ, 13 Feb. 2023 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pedant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French, from Italian pedante

First Known Use

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of pedant was in 1588

Dictionary Entries Near pedant

Cite this Entry

“Pedant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


ped·​ant ˈped-ᵊnt How to pronounce pedant (audio)
: a person who shows off his or her learning
: a dull and overly exact teacher

More from Merriam-Webster on pedant

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