What do you call a person who systematically gets involved in (or creates) projects that are too big and too detailed, which means that some of them will become a challenge beyond their abilities?

For example, if such a person decides to create a photo-album of their holiday, they end up taking photos of everything and then, when putting together the album, they take so long there's a chance the album won't be finished before one or two years (or not at all, as a new mega-project may in the meantime have taken up the person's attention).

Or imagine the person decides to create a database of their personal library and automatically goes about creating fields for every detail, including sizes and weight and, why not?, a thumbnail image of the cover, a field for the blurb and for a personal comment, and... (Yeah, I know, Goodreads already has all that, but we're talking about the type of person who'd still say Goodreads is missing fundamental fields so they must go and create it all from scratch).

EDIT: Conversely, some of these projects can be small: say, making a yule log so detailed it does take up the appearance of a log (uneven shape and edible mushrooms, berries and leaves as realistic as possible). Or instead of producing a database from scratch they can buy the software that offers the best chance of being detailed and then they use it to the utmost.

I'd been using the term 'megalomaniac', because the projects are always 'mega' and there's definitely a 'mania' driving these urges for 'mega projects', but once I started reading up on the term, I realised it didn't quite fit the bill, as the person in question doesn't necessarily think themself better than others, nor is there a need for praise over the projects. It's more of a personal need to go to the utmost detail.

'Perfectionism' may be involved in the process, but it refers to the need of doing something perfectly, even if the task is simple. I'm looking for something that focuses on the need to go big or go home.

  • 'Fantasist' is a hypernym. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 23:52
  • There's dilettante for someone who picks up and drops new interests readily. There's losing the forest for the trees, when missing the big picture by getting lost in minutia. And there's a common foible of lacking stick-to-itiveness to keep a project going to completion. Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 0:14
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    The idiom is "bites off more than he can chew, which means taking on a challenge that you're not quite capable of doing. This isn't what you describe--your person is making tasks overly complex and elaborate, making everything detailed and difficult--not accepting a simple solution.
    – Xanne
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 4:50
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    @YosefBaskin: But not all of these projects will be left unfinished. Only the ones which are really too unrealistic. I'll add that idea to the question. Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 8:38
  • @Xanne: Ah! Thanks for clarifying that idiom for me. Although some projects will be so elaborate that the idiom does describe them. I'll correct the question. Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 8:40

1 Answer 1


If you're not looking for a noun specifically, you can say they

overcommit (TFD)

  1. To bind or obligate (oneself, for example) beyond the capacity for realization.


go overboard (TFD)

  1. Fig. to do too much; to be extravagant. Look, Sally, let's have a nice party, but don't go overboard. It doesn't need to be fancy. Okay, you can buy a big comfortable car, but don't go overboard on price.

Edit - Perhaps this is the idiom you're looking for:

(deep) into the weeds (TFD)

  1. Totally immersed or preoccupied with the details or complexities (of something). I'd like to come out tonight, but I'm deep into the weeds with my thesis.
  • "Too big for their britches", "In over their head", "Idealistic", "dreamer". I can think of a lot of terms, and I'm sure I could think of more!
    – Mark G B
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 2:16

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