What word is appropriate for someone who tries to one up everything you say? For example:
Me: "You are a great friend"
Person: "Well, you are my best friend"
As implied by the question itself, the standard term for the behaviour itself is one-upmanship.
Although alphadictionary.com is prepared to accept one-upman as a word in itself, to be honest I think they're in the minority on that one. In the absence of a convenient single-word derivation from the standard term, people usually just say it using more words - for example...
Most of us indulge in one-upmanship from time to time - it's part of normal social interaction. It only becomes tiresome with those few people who do it excessively. The most common single-word adjective I can think of for such a person is competitive. Which has lots of other shades of meaning, but when used in the context of how someone interacts socially, I think most people will know exactly what you mean.
user653's comment to @Barrie's answer reminds me of my favourite example from Dilbert...
I've remembered the word I was trying to think of earlier. It's topper, although it's not in the OED as such.
Along the lines of @Barrie, in our family someone exhibiting this trait would be called a story-topper. Whether this is a commonly used term I have no idea, but it should be!
“academic” (as a noun) could be used, given that one-upmanship is endemic to academia.
Me: “You are a great friend.”
Person: “Well, you’re my best friend.”
Me: “Oh, don’t be an academic.”
(or: Me: “Oh, don’t play the academic.”)
Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?