I need a negative term for someone who puts too much effort into unimportant things or assignments. I could only think of "overachiever", but I don't know if that is a good word for that kind of person.

I don't have a sample sentence, so I hope this isn't deleted because of that issue.

Edit: Thank you for the answers! I did want to clarify that although I put "negative term", I'm not using this to be mean to anyone. I'm trying to find a good word for my college essay about myself. And to answer someone's question, it's "negative" in the sense that it annoys others because of how much effort that person puts into things that don't mean anything in the long run.

  • 1
    How about a nitpicker?
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 15:13
  • 1
    We now use our wordsmithing to help people pee on peers? Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 15:33
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    Make up a sample sentence. "Negative" in the sense that it raises the bar for others, or negative in the sense that the person might be always stressed out when they don't need to be. Negative how? Your question is too vague, hence my downvote. You didn't try hard enough on this question.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 15:39
  • Are they producing an excessive amount, or does it just take them an excessive amount of effort to do ordinary things? The best word will probably depend on whether they're doing perfectionist-type creating something unnecessarily fancy or detailed, or just labouring away for an incredible amount of time without producing anything special.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 16:19
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    Does this answer your question? What is the word(s) for someone who is very particular about the small details of something?
    – Conrado
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 20:53

3 Answers 3


A colloquial term that's often used in the context of gaming is a tryhard. It's usually used with a negative connotation to refer to someone who "tries too hard" - they may become too competitive in what is usually a casual game, or optimize their playstyle for winrate rather than actually having fun. It captures the notion of intense effort applied to fairly meaningless things.

Overachiever is another good word to negatively refer to someone's accomplishments. It very well captures the notion that they are putting in effort well beyond what a normal person would, which most people would deem as too much effort for the task at hand.

  • "tryhard" must be pretty new, it's not in many dictionaries. My Mac's dictionary app auto-corrects it to "thyroid". :)
    – Barmar
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 17:17
  • What part of the world is "tryhard" from? I've never heard it in BrE and the spellchecker rejects it too. Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 20:06
  • @PeterJennings As far as I know, it's a fairly recently coined colloquial American term. I've seen it as one word, hyphenated, or as two, but I doubt it would show up in a formal dictionary. See also gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/245280/… Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 20:10
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    Darn. Came to answer tryhard, which is in a dictionary here.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 22:46

The term workaholic might work. Collins defines it thus:

A workaholic is a person who works most of the time and finds it difficult to stop working in order to do other things.


You may be able to use fusspot. There are several similar definitions given by UK , US and online dictionaries, some say it's just complaining about trivia others about doing unnecessary work as well.

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