13

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?

  • 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. – anongoodnurse Mar 4 '14 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 '14 at 16:20
  • Oh, and Sherlock Holmes. Didn't know about the solar system (and other fundamentals) and didn't care. – anongoodnurse Mar 4 '14 at 16:21
  • Narrow-minded perhaps? – user1306322 Mar 4 '14 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 '14 at 14:53

19 Answers 19

30

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

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29

Consider specialist

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

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  • 3
    If "specialist" is good at conveying narrow... "sub-specialist" must be even better, right? :) +1 – Jaydles Mar 4 '14 at 19:03
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    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. – Danubian Sailor Mar 4 '14 at 21:54
27

Consider single-minded

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

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  • 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 '14 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 '14 at 14:49
  • Can you give such an example of unmodified usage? – Aaron Hall Mar 5 '14 at 15:11
  • @Aaron Hall: Can you prove that it is always temporary? – ermanen Mar 5 '14 at 15:14
15

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.

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  • Don't forget about "razor-focused," the likely ancestor of "laser-focused" – Adrian Mar 6 '14 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 '14 at 12:25
11

"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

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11

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.

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10

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

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5

"Blinkered":

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

limited in scope or understanding : narrow-minded

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4

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

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2

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.

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2

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

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2

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.

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  • 1
    This is a great answer! – SAH May 29 '16 at 16:36
2

More words that come to mind:

preoccupation

something that holds the attention or preoccupies the mind

fixation

a preoccupation with one subject, issue, etc.;

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2

The term is "Specialist" when discussing professionals.

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

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1

Couple words came to mind:

-Insular

Circumscribed and detached in outlook and experience

-Provincial

a person of local or restricted interests or outlook

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1

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.

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  • SME doesn't have the connotation of "and ... not interested in anything else". – Cheeseminer Mar 6 '14 at 9:39
0

We can call him as

Nerd

Definition:

a single-minded expert in a particular technical field. 

Check this google dictionary

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0

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.

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-1

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]
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