I'm Australian and would not hesitate to call myself a "pedantic wanker" in public (because, well... I often am!).

There is a very small chance that someone (most likely elderly or particularly conservative) may be offended. IMO though, it's quite socially acceptable, and unless you are in a particularly formal setting, the risk of it being considered offensive is extremely low.

However, I work with a lot of people, from all over the world. Whilst my colleagues know me and have learned the context of my speech patterns, I also realise that the casual Australian vernacular can be a little harsh for those that are unaccustomed.

I'm pretty casual by nature and wish to be authentic. So I am looking for something that is not too formal or contrite and maintains a sense of playfulness. I.e. I'm denigrating myself, but mainly as a tool to soften the impact of my critique of someone else, rather than seriously putting myself down. So I'm looking for something that I could say in a similar tongue in cheek way.

Explicitly, I'm wondering how I would best rephrase a sentence such as "I just wanted to be the pedantic wanker and point that out!" [that = a mistake you made that doesn't really matter].

  • 1
    Many folks are only familiar with "wank" as meaning "masturbate", and would not consider it polite speech, even in a jocular sense.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 15, 2017 at 5:02
  • @HotLicks The Australian vernacular takes some getting used to.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 15, 2017 at 5:04
  • @HotLicks - yes, same meaning here too. But so long as the context is jocular and/or aimed at a one's self, a friend, or a public figure it's unlikely to even raise an eyebrow. Having said that, I suspect that even in Australia, there are social strata where it's not considered polite and/or acceptable. Dec 15, 2017 at 5:20
  • "Just being a smart ass," or "Not to be a smart ass," seems to work fine as an indicator for me. Not sure how it fares internationally. TBH, if you just said "...being a wanker" to me, I'd get it from what little British or Australian TV I've watched, so seems fairly well known--though my TV viewing may not be inline with the majority, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
    – Genxthis
    Dec 15, 2017 at 5:24

1 Answer 1


You might say that you just wanted to be "that guy" and point out the mistake.

The usage of the term is extremely broad, but it's within coo-ee of your original expression, is widely understood, and is socially acceptable when used in a self-deprecating manner.

"That guy" (T)he basic definition for being "that guy" is to just be as annoying as humanly possible at any and all types of social functions, and annoying in many different ways(.) - Urban Dictionary


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