What you you call a person that can take a simple, easily understood concept or task and turn it in to a complicated procedure?

  • 17
    That’s called a manager I think.
    – Jim
    Feb 2, 2016 at 16:00
  • 2
    It saddens me greatly that I can't upvote your comment more than once. Feb 2, 2016 at 16:02
  • 1
    Hi Dave... I have removed the "proper-nouns" tag and have applied the "single-word-requests" tag to this question. Please consider adding an example sentence to attract responses.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Feb 2, 2016 at 16:17
  • 1
    Or "an academic". Feb 2, 2016 at 16:27
  • 1
    I've been told that "English teacher" fits.
    – Rob_Ster
    Feb 2, 2016 at 16:34

7 Answers 7


According to at least two online dictionaries, "complicator" is a real word that might help.

Even if it isn't in the Oxford dictionary (yet), we can make it so. Such is the nature of language.

  • 1
    You always have to make things complicated, don't you?
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 2, 2016 at 19:33


one that obfuscates

where obfuscate means

to make (something) more difficult to understand

This is often used in the context of intentionally making something more confusing rather than doing so through incompetence, but it wasn't clear from your question which side of that aspect you wanted.


I'd suggest,


One who overthinks.

overthink: to think or analyze too much. Wiktionary


beanplate: Slang to overthink DefiniThing


Although it doesn't crack the "proper" dictionaries, confusticate was used by Tolkien in The Hobbit and forms of the word appear in the Urban Free Dictionary. Thus confusticator: one who confuses things beyond their natural state.

Now, before I start getting down votes, how about confuter the noun form of confute: confound [Webster's].

But as long as we're considering neologisms ... confusionist, huh?

  • 2
    You can even derive a philosophy from that - confusianism. Very established in China. Feb 2, 2016 at 16:46
  • 1
    Confusticate cracks OED, don't get more proper than that!
    – user116295
    Feb 2, 2016 at 19:25
  • Sweet! I didn't know.
    – Stu W
    Feb 2, 2016 at 21:37


Google Definition:




a thing that provides resistance, delay, or obstruction to something or someone.

I think this word could be used to label your hypothetical person, but it could also be used to label people who make a bad situation worse.

If Urban Dictionary is an acceptable source, then frustrator would also work:


some who frequently provokes frustration


Consider hair-splitter.

Hair-splitting is the introduction of unnecessary complications. It is the making of unreasonably fine distinctions. No matter how small, the person will differentiate between subjects.

For example:

"The legal experts have a particularly hair-splitting mentality".


  • Person 1: "Colin just spent the past half-hour telling me the difference between magenta and pink"

  • Person 2: "He is such a hair splitter"

  • 1
    But, but, but -- A "hair-splitter" is trying to simplify things by getting the definitions down as narrow as possible.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 2, 2016 at 22:14
  • @HotLicks - I think that this word has a negative connotation of exageration.
    – Graffito
    Feb 2, 2016 at 22:33

You've already had general answers like complicator and obfuscator. Here's another slant on your question, yielding a few more specific terms.

As it stands, the question asks for a label for a person who can (i.e. has the ability to) make the simple complex. One label is deep thinker, though such people might prefer to substitute the word profound for complex. For example:

Someone asked: “What is the meaning of life?”
Some random dude replied: “To give life a meaning.” - daedreth, quoted by Nico Lang

If your question emphasises the word procedure, the apparent simplicity may be due to underestimating the problem. Researchers sometimes take simple ideas and produce extremely detailed means of reliably carrying them out. Consider the following thesis which documents how a robot may be set up so that you can simply tell it where to go. It's harder than it sounds - even people don't always get it right. (I got this from a google search and am counting on CMU's reputation for the result's reliability.)

Natural Language Direction Following for Robots in Unstructured Unknown Environments - Ph.D dissertation by Felix Duvallet

For the political cynic, the ability to produce a complicated procedure from a simple, easily understood concept or task is a skill commonly attributed to some bureaucrats.

And finally, we who answer EL&U questions can at times produce quite a lot out of very little :P .

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