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I would like an alternative for the word "pedantic". "Pedantic" has the meaning of :

highly concerned with minute details or formalisms, especially in learning or teaching.

The problem is, "pedantic" is used in a negative way, that is, it is used for some one who is "ostentatious, and overly concerned". I would like to have a word that has the same meaning as this word(concerned with minute details), minus the negative connotations.

Some come to mind:

  • meticulous, but "meticulous" can also be used for habits, such as meticulous habits in tidiness etc.
  • scholarly, but "scholarly" although used for study, does not necessarily have the connotation of highly meticulous study. It can just be study of a subject, without going in-depth.

Ideas please?

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I think being a pedant is also awesome, nit-picking missing or incorrect details of people's works to perfecting them is definitely a positive point but to laughing at them is a noted converse. It's normal to see mixed cultures with different types of people tend to favor the latter. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pedantic. Just my personal view (maybe very incorrect) – StackUnderblow Aug 4 '11 at 1:34
punctilious is a good word. – Pacerier May 10 '12 at 12:23
up vote 4 down vote accepted

First of all, I'd like to say that pedantic has more than a negative connotation. When I think of a word with a negative connotation, it's a word that has a neutral definition but tends to be interpreted as negative. Pedantic, on the other hand, is already a negative word by definition -- it has a negative denotation, and being pedantic can never be interpreted as a positive.

...Was that aside a little pedantic?

To get back on topic, the word I would use is precise or thorough. Being precise, concise, yet still thorough in describing something is quite the talent.

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Fastidious: it gives more dignity to the trait and steers the connotation away from “obsession”.

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Meticulous, painstaking, scrupulous, attentive, punctilious.

All these words can convey careful attention to detail. Also adroit, skillful, and masterful convey a commendable efficiency.

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I agree with other suggestions - especially Meticulous, and I'll add


for some contexts.

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Trying to avoid the negative connotation of pedantic I'd use


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Perfectionist I feel, is still slightly negative. Perhaps I'm being one. – Thursagen Aug 4 '11 at 7:54

All good suggestions here. I'll just toss in one of my own: attentive to detail

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Nobody seems to have suggested conscientious yet. Just as pedantic is nearly always negative, conscientious is nearly always positive. To me, meticulous is more neutral, sitting somewhere between the two (and as with most neutral words, can be made to sound positive or negative depending on the context it's used in).

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If someone is highly concerned about the details of something they could be desribed as being very particular.

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Those of us who are truly and thoughtfully pondering possible answers to this question are without doubt pedantic/meticulous by nature.

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