I've noticed that some people really love to overcomplicate things to seem intellectually superior. For instance, say I somehow dropped a pile of clothes on the ground. They'd then ask me: "When would I stop being a pile? If I keep taking away one article at a time, when would it no longer be a heap?" I'm asking if there's there a word for this needlessly philosophical behavior? Thanks!
closed as unclear what you're asking by user140086, FumbleFingers, NVZ, tchrist♦, Mitch Jul 13 '16 at 14:18
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The "when-is-a-pile-not-a-pile" question is the famous Paradox of Sorites (sorites being the Greek word for "pile").
Bringing up the paradox (or whatever other obscure issue) on any excuse might be "overintellectualizing" or just "snooty".
It sounds like you're looking for pretentious:
attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.
"a pretentious literary device"
synonyms: affected, ostentatious, showy; overambitious, pompous, artificial, inflated, overblown, high-sounding, flowery, grandiose, elaborate, extravagant, flamboyant, ornate, grandiloquent, magniloquent, sophomoric;
informal: flashy, highfalutin, fancy-pants, la-di-da, pseudo
"Clytemnestra is a pretentious name for a dog"
You might also consider obfuscate:
render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.
"the spelling changes will deform some familiar words and obfuscate their etymological origins"
synonyms: obscure, confuse, make unclear, blur, muddle, complicate, overcomplicate, muddy, cloud, befog
"mere rationalizations to obfuscate rather than clarify the real issue"
"it is more likely to obfuscate people than enlighten them"
synonyms: bewilder, mystify, puzzle, perplex, confuse, baffle, confound, bemuse, befuddle, nonplus; informalflummox
"her work became more and more obfuscated by mathematics and jargon"
to speculate or theorize, usually in a superficial or imprecise manner.
1. ostentatious in one's learning. 2. overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, especially in teaching.
- characterized by [the making of unnecessarily fine distinctions].
- to be excessively concerned with or critical of inconsequential details.
to spend more time thinking about something than is necessary or productive
make a song and dance about nothing
UK informal: to make something seem more important than it really is so that everyone notices it:
similar: much ado about nothing
make a mountain out of a molehill
an idiom referring to over-reactive, histrionic behaviour where a person makes too much of a minor issue