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 or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?