I'm looking for a word to describe someone who is overly rational, in an unrealistic way. Thanks!

closed as off-topic by vickyace, NVZ, MetaEd, Mazura, user140086 Jun 2 '16 at 4:37

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  • 2
    Robotic, hyperanalytical, Vulcan... – Dan Bron Jun 1 '16 at 18:09
  • 1
    Hyperrational. "Characterized by excessive rationality." – MetaEd Jun 1 '16 at 18:56
  • I am not sure I understand, being as rational is specifically to do with reason and logic how would that be in excess, ever. This sounds like an oxymoron. – Yeshe Jun 1 '16 at 19:23
  • @Yeshe I think that if someone were to describe someone else as "overly rational", what they really mean is that they ignore or neglect the non-rational aspects of their being - for example, that they shut down their emotions to an unhealthy degree. So, it's not that they have too much "rationality", it's that they don't balance it with emotions etc. It would be clearer to call someone like this "under-emotional" rather than "over-rational", but there is the metaphor of "sides" of our personalities being in opposition to each other (obviously it's not that simple). – Max Williams Jun 3 '16 at 14:36

I might use hyper-rational, as it emphasizes the rational aspect that the OP is requesting without a pejorative slant.

Hyper-rationality is the unquestioning faith in the efficacy of reason.


Might be an opportunity for persnickety:

giving a lot of attention to details that are minor or not important

for a particularly careful or detail-oriented person. For a more formal word, I suggest fastidious:.

very careful about how you do something

EDIT: It's been suggested that my original interpretation might be a little off-base, and conflating 'rational' with 'particular'. I agree that in this case hyperrational is the most literal and effective term.

  • Or you could go for the Scottish original version 'pernickety' :D – Spagirl Jun 1 '16 at 18:27
  • While I like your word choices you ought to include definitions for them and the appropriate citations. Additionally the words you have chosen pertain to being detail oriented which is not synonymous with logic. A logical person certainly can be detail oriented but there are many illogical people that are detail oriented as well. – Yeshe Jun 1 '16 at 19:28

You should use the answers provided by rome_leader. I'm suggesting something else.

I believe a vulgar word portrays a concept to the highest degree because it feels too personal. You can use anal-retentive.

Cambridge dictionary

too worried about being organized or tidy

There are also synonyms such as finicky, finical, fussbudgety


You could insult the person by using Brainiac or Einstein in a pejorative sense.  But if the issue is that he’s being overly rational and abstract and/or theoretical to the exclusion of practical concerns, you could say that he can’t see the forest for the trees:

too involved in the details of a problem to look at the situation as a whole

or is living in an ivory tower:

an attitude of aloofness from or disdain or disregard for worldly or practical affairs

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