I would like to know a word to describe someone who is well-versed in the rules of a game, sport, activity, etc.?

  • I've heard guru often. Wikipedia describes the sanskrt word as teacher, guide or master. Another word may be sage, from greek sophos. Also possible would be authority implying not only knowledge, but also influence.
    – Thinkeye
    Sep 16, 2015 at 16:01
  • 1
    I've always used "lawyer". Eg, "tennis lawyer".
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 16, 2015 at 16:13
  • In my experience with tournament board gaming, the term "rules lawyer" is used pejoratively to describe someone who enjoys interpreting the rules differently from the majority and calling fouls where none exists. They might try to use seldom-referenced rules to gain an advantage. For example, if the rules of a chess tournament say that "after moving your piece, a player should push the plunger on the chess clock", the rules lawyer might complain because his competitor "hit" the plunger instead of "pushed" the plunger. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_lawyer
    – James
    Sep 17, 2015 at 12:08

4 Answers 4


I see that your question no longer mentions your nationality (US). I'm British and a commonly used journalistic word for an expert on sporting matters in the UK is pundit.

pundit : a person who knows a lot about a particular subject and who expresses ideas and opinions about that subject publicly (such as by speaking on television and radio shows)


Other possibilities might be brain, egghead, genius, whiz, wizard, guru, master.


I think you're looking for parliamentarian. That's the word I was looking for.

  • Your suggestion is a good one, but to transform it into a complete, one-stop-shop answer, you should consider adding a suitable dictionary definition to your current skeletal response. That way, the poster (and other, future readers) will be able to see why parliamentarian is a good suggestion, without having to look it up themselves.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 29, 2018 at 7:51

"a referee", or "a sports arbiter", is supposed to know all the rules about a specific game and they make sure those rules are followed during a match or competition.

  • referee - a sports official usually having final authority in administering a game MW

A connoisseur is especially competent in a field, especially in the fine arts.

A "connoisseur" is an authority in his field, someone who has expert knowledge and training, especially in the arts. A connoisseur may also be someone with an extremely developed sense of taste, like the connoisseur who can identify rare wine by a flavor others can't even detect. Then again, some people call themselves connoisseurs of just about anything they like — pizza, old vinyl albums, even cartoons — because they know so much about it. - Source: Vocabulary.com.

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