I'm looking for a word to describe one's behaviour that is unnecessarily complicated.

For instance, let's say John, he goes to use the public toilet. Unlike most ordinary people who just uses the toilet, flush, and then leave, he's behaviour is unnecessarily complicated. Every time he goes to the toilet, he would first, remove his outerwear, this includes his jacket, pants, and even his socks and shoes. He would then, wipe the seat with toilet paper and then layer the seat with the toilet paper, and puts all his attire back on afterwards.

What's the word to describe this kind of behaviour?

  • It's obsessive/compulsive. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 23:43
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    It depends on its aetiology. It may be obsessive-compulsive, or it may be merely eccentric or bizarre. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 23:43
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    @FumbleFingers As patently opposed to anal-retentive. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 23:44
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    I'm not sure the bathroom elements of the example are relevant or a distraction from the intended meaning. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 23:59
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    Why would you wish to live with this for long enough to need a short way of describing it?
    – Oldcat
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 0:02

3 Answers 3


Overwrought means both “overly complicated” and “agitated or neurotic.” Either sense could apply here.


Pernicketty could mean unnecessarily complicated of cetain behaviours:

placing too much emphasis on trivial or minor details; fussy.
"she's very pernickety about her food"
synonyms:   fussy, difficult to please, difficult, finicky, over-fastidious, fastidious, over-particular, particular, faddish, finical, dainty, punctilious, hair-splitting, exacting, demanding, critical, overcritical; More
informalnitpicking, choosy, picky;

I think the example you give would more likely be labelled 'eccentric' as it doesn't conform to OCD behaviour. As @Ryebread points out, OCD is more likely to be associated with fear of germs in which case a sufferer would not remove his shoes in a public toilet - he'd be more likely to avoid public toilets altogether. OCD is however related to many other obsessive bahaviours and not all of them are related to hygiene/germ fears. So, depending on the behaviour and the sufferer, the unnecessarily complicated behaviour could be classed as OCD.

  • Interesting twist on finicky: (of a person) fussy about their needs or requirements (Google meaning)
    – user414952
    Commented Feb 27, 2021 at 19:29

I think you could use the term convoluted here.

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