Is there a word for someone that always has to be right? The person gets angry if they are not.

  • ranthoneous - a contentious person who is underknowledged in a field he thinks he is an expert in and will fly into angry rants when his incorrect statements are corrected by those who are actually experts or at least well versed in the field. Sep 10, 2016 at 16:29

6 Answers 6


A "dogmatist" is always right. The dogma says "It is like this" and then it is like this. This does not cover the part about getting angry, of course.

  • Strictly speaking, a dogmatist is someone who resolutely adheres to some particular dogma (doctrine, code of beliefs, principles, usually laid down by some higher authority). In common parlance an argumentative person with his own fixed views on every subject that ever comes up may be called dogmatic, but IMHO it would be uncommon to label that person a dogmatist. And as you say, it has no special sense of getting upset when disagreed with, or when losing the argument. Jan 21, 2012 at 21:49
  • @FumbleFingers: Yes, dogmatic is probably better. But connecting it with "angry" in one word seems to be hard. Well, maybe someone will give a brilliant answer later on.
    – Stephen
    Jan 22, 2012 at 16:14
  • In this day and age you might say that fundamentalists are more likely to be the kind of dogmatists who get really angry (and lethally violent) if their dogma isn't accepted by others. Jan 22, 2012 at 16:23
  • @FumbleFingers: It also depends on the connotation of "angry": starting to cry like a child who did not get the wanted ice cream, or getting violent and hurting other people.
    – Stephen
    Jan 22, 2012 at 16:27
  • Yes, I think oftentimes that's a drawback with these "single-word-requests" on ELU. There's this assumption that the world divides into a relatively finite number of "referents", and that English should have a specific word for each. Mostly I think people should forget about finding "the word" (often too obscure for most contexts anyway), and just use permutations of words they already know to say what they mean. If the thing being spoken of is important enough to reference very often, the right word (if there is one) will turn up in conversation soon enough anyway. Jan 22, 2012 at 16:42

There are many words to describe someone who always needs to be right, including indomitable, adamant, unrelenting, insistent, intransigent, obdurate, unshakeable, dictatorial.

To convey more the sense of getting angry when disagreed with, strident or truculent - eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant, bad-tempered and always willing to argue with people: a truculent attitude.

  • Does truculent carries the meaning of "willing/needing to be always right"?
    – Alenanno
    Jan 22, 2012 at 10:13
  • Well, a belligerent person might argue with his fists, where a truculent person will just batter you down with words. But I think all that kind of behaviour implies that whatever you say is right and the other person is wrong. I definitely see truculent as identifying someone who gets increasingly strident if they seem to be losing, which to my mind implies they have a pathological need to "win" - to (appear to) be "proved" right by the force of their words and the way they express themselves, rather than the strength of their argument itself. Jan 22, 2012 at 11:14

I'm not sure there is a word that describes exactly that, but the closest ones I found are (both definitions come from the NOAD):

  • Smart alec (also smart-alec, smart aleck, smart-aleck): a person who is irritating because they behave as if they know everything.
  • Know-it-all (also know-all): a person who behaves as if they know everything.

They don't seem to include the "angry" factor, but certainly "the conviction of being right" is there.


You can say such a person is contentious or argumentative.

  • Google Books records not a single instance of he is eristic. It's mostly used in works on ancient Roman/Greek literature and philosophy. Jan 22, 2012 at 3:58
  • @FumbleFingers Hmm. Perhaps I'll change it to FF instead? ;-) (Thought I saw it in COCA in that context, but on further review, apparently not.)
    – Gnawme
    Jan 22, 2012 at 4:05
  • ELU makes argumentative pedants of us all! :) Jan 22, 2012 at 11:05

This kind of person can be described as self-righteous.

(MW) Self-righteous - having or showing a strong belief that your own actions, opinions, etc., are right and other people's are wrong


The adjective "pedantic" comes to mind -- negative connotation of being concerned with a superficial, rather than a deeper, sense of what is correct.

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    – NVZ
    Sep 10, 2016 at 16:34

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