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?

  • 4
    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. Mar 4, 2014 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, 2014 at 16:20
  • Oh, and Sherlock Holmes. Didn't know about the solar system (and other fundamentals) and didn't care. Mar 4, 2014 at 16:21
  • Narrow-minded perhaps? Mar 4, 2014 at 19:18
  • 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, 2014 at 14:53

19 Answers 19


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


Consider specialist

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

  • 3
    If "specialist" is good at conveying narrow... "sub-specialist" must be even better, right? :) +1
    – Jaydles
    Mar 4, 2014 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. Mar 4, 2014 at 21:54

Consider single-minded

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

  • 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, 2014 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, 2014 at 14:49
  • Can you give such an example of unmodified usage?
    – Aaron Hall
    Mar 5, 2014 at 15:11

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.

  • Don't forget about "razor-focused," the likely ancestor of "laser-focused"
    – Adrian
    Mar 6, 2014 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, 2014 at 12:25

"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


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.


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

  • Fachidiot does not appear in the OED or Merriam Webster. I had not met the word in English before. I would avoid it.
    – Greybeard
    May 9, 2022 at 19:00


Having or showing a narrow or limited outlook: 'a blinkered attitude'

limited in scope or understanding : narrow-minded


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


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.


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



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.

  • 1
    This is a great answer!
    – SAH
    May 29, 2016 at 16:36
  • This does not address the "but knows nothing in other areas."
    – Greybeard
    May 9, 2022 at 19:04

Couple words came to mind:


Circumscribed and detached in outlook and experience


a person of local or restricted interests or outlook


More words that come to mind:


something that holds the attention or preoccupies the mind


a preoccupation with one subject, issue, etc.;

  • This does not address the question which asks for a noun for a person...
    – Greybeard
    May 9, 2022 at 19:03

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


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

  • 1
    SME doesn't have the connotation of "and ... not interested in anything else". Mar 6, 2014 at 9:39

The term is "Specialist" when discussing professionals.

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

  • This does not address the question.
    – Greybeard
    May 9, 2022 at 19:01

Idiot savant is barely politically correct, carries implications of abnormal neurology, and is probably more extreme than what you're trying to say. Other than that, it matches pretty well:

Quick definitions from WordNet: idiot savant

▸ noun: person who is mentally retarded in general but who displays remarkable aptitude in some limited field (usually involving memory)

Cf. savant.


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.

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

We can call him as



a single-minded expert in a particular technical field. 

Check this google dictionary

  • This does not address the "but knows nothing in other areas."
    – Greybeard
    May 9, 2022 at 19:02

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