Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There are some people who have interests in only some narrow field, and are not interested in anything else:

  • physicians who heal only ears, and for whom the stomach doesn't matter
  • clerks who know all the fiscal laws by heart, but ignore anything that isn't written there
  • fanatics who care only what the scriptures say
  • housewives interested only in cooking and soap operas
  • geeks who care only for computer games and comics
  • crazy scientists that know everything about chemistry but don't know who Columbus was and have probably never heard of America

What do I call someone who has such narrow-field interests and/or knowledge?

share|improve this question
    
Łukasz 웃 L ツ, saying "how to call"? is awkward and unnatural in English. You would benefit from seeing the entire page at the following link “How do we call (something) in English?” english.stackexchange.com/questions/150325/… –  Tristan r Mar 4 at 16:01
3  
Hmm. The list seems to imply you want a word with a somewhat pejorative connotation. I have no problem with specialists (physicians) who concentrate on a focused area. We need them. We can't be specialists in everything. In answer, I'd say single-minded. –  medica Mar 4 at 16:19
    
Łukasz 웃 L ツ, you should edit the How in your last line and replace it with a What. –  Tristan r Mar 4 at 16:20
    
Oh, and Sherlock Holmes. Didn't know about the solar system (and other fundamentals) and didn't care. –  medica Mar 4 at 16:21
1  
@D. M. Davidson: I do not agree. Narrow-minded comes to mind because the questions indicates the word "narrow" but narrow-minded has negative connotations that is beyond the definition in the question. –  ermanen Mar 5 at 14:53

18 Answers 18

Consider specialist

A person who concentrates primarily on a particular subject or activity; a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field.

share|improve this answer
3  
If "specialist" is good at conveying narrow... "sub-specialist" must be even better, right? :) +1 –  Jaydles Mar 4 at 19:03
6  
Being specialist doesn't include being interested in other domains, specialist can be omniscient as well. I'm asking about someone, who isn't interested in anything from other domains. –  Donaudampfschifffreizeitfahrt Mar 4 at 21:54

Consider monomaniac: someone with "an inordinate or obsessive zeal for or interest in a single thing, idea, subject, or the like"

share|improve this answer

Consider single-minded

having only one purpose, goal, or interest : focused on one thing

share|improve this answer
    
Single-minded carries connotations that it is a temporary condition that will terminate when a goal is reached, whereas the asker used examples with permanence of interest. –  Aaron Hall Mar 5 at 14:14
2  
@Aaron Hall: How can you say that it is temporary? It can be applied to both permanent and temporary situations. –  ermanen Mar 5 at 14:49
    
Can you give such an example of unmodified usage? –  Aaron Hall Mar 5 at 15:11
    
@Aaron Hall: Can you prove that it is always temporary? –  ermanen Mar 5 at 15:14

Consider parochial

restricted to a small area or scope; narrow; limited; provincial: a parochial outlook

A similar recent term is laser focused

Intensely paying attention to a single object, concept, person, or activity to the exclusion of everything else.

share|improve this answer
    
Don't forget about "razor-focused," the likely ancestor of "laser-focused" –  Adrian Mar 6 at 0:53
    
@Adrian Hmmmm. A laser could be focused, but I would be quite surprised if you could "focus" any line. –  Jack Ryan Mar 11 at 12:25

Tunnel Vision describes the inability to see anything outside of your own narrow point of view.

Per the definition it is a tendency to think about only one thing and ignore everything else.

I believe it fits your idea.

share|improve this answer

"One-track mind", is used for people that have a singular interest that prevails over all other topics and outside influences. As defined by the MacMillan Dictionary:

someone who has a one-track mind thinks about one particular thing all the time

share|improve this answer

German has the word Fachidiot (literally: profession idiot or subject idiot) for this and it has been prominently suggested that English loans this word.

share|improve this answer

You seem to be asking for the corollary to "polymath." It's not a dictionary word, but I would consider using "monomath."

share|improve this answer

How about a "wonk":

wonk noun \ˈwäŋk, ˈwȯŋk\ : a person who knows a lot about the details of a particular field (such as politics) and often talks a lot about that subject

share|improve this answer

Couple words came to mind:

-Insular

Circumscribed and detached in outlook and experience

-Provincial

a person of local or restricted interests or outlook

share|improve this answer

Metaphorically, a hedgehog.

Berlin ... divide[s] writers and thinkers into two categories: hedgehogs, who view the world through the lens of a single defining idea ... and foxes who draw on a wide variety of experiences and for whom the world cannot be boiled down to a single idea.

share|improve this answer

More words that come to mind:

preoccupation

something that holds the attention or preoccupies the mind

fixation

a preoccupation with one subject, issue, etc.;

share|improve this answer

The term is "Specialist" when discussing professionals.

The term is "Myopic" when discussing people who see the world through only one narrow lens...

share|improve this answer

Geek

Although the asker said:

  • geeks who care only for computer games and comics

the term geek can apply to anyone who is obsessed with any field of interest, and is more useful in a casual situation where it imparts moderate and positive connotations, as opposed to my other favorite already given here, the more severe and clinical monomaniac.

share|improve this answer

This person is called a Subject Matter Expert (SME):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subject-matter_expert

This is professional term - unlike some of the other answers. And is generally well understood in the business/professional world.

share|improve this answer
    
SME doesn't have the connotation of "and ... not interested in anything else". –  Cheeseminer Mar 6 at 9:39

Are you looking for a term with a negative connotation as suggested by a previous comment?

Maybe pedantic is what you're looking for. Someone who is overly concerned with minor details is considered pedantic.

pedantic
adj 1: marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning
       especially its trivial aspects [syn: academic,
       donnish, pedantic]
share|improve this answer

We can call him as

Nerd

Definition:

a single-minded expert in a particular technical field. 

Check this google dictionary

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.