I've experienced this way too many times, and the best example I can give is a person who treats you like you have no idea how to do X and who keeps teaching you how to do it. I feel handicapped.

Take for example how to play a card game. You know how to play the game because you've played it 5 times. However, there is a person always insists on explaining the game to you - like you are always new to the game - when you don't actually need any help and you just want to think for yourself.

Another example situation is doing a repetitive task which you already have experience with, and yet the person continually tries to 'teach' you when you don't need help/already know how to do it. It almost makes you mad because you really don't need help.

As an example which recently happened to me:

"Hey, do you remember how to start the wood chipper?"

"Yes I do"

"Okay, well, let me show you one more time"

Again, is there a term for someone who does this?

  • I think the ultimate term will depend on the reason that they are doing this. Is it that they don't trust you, or are they a control freak, or just strange, overly-protective of their things, lonely, looking for attention, or any number of things.
    – Sam
    Nov 17, 2012 at 5:11
  • I see you're a bit of a condissenter. ;-)
    – Erik Kowal
    Apr 18, 2014 at 19:08
  • My first thought is pedantic, but that doesn't quite fit, nor does "pedagogic". "Didactic" is maybe a little better. But unfortunately most of the words one considers in this area have multiple meanings, and there's no good way to assure that the desired meaning will be conveyed.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 8, 2015 at 23:22

9 Answers 9


The closest word I can think of is pedagogue or pedant who is a teacher too interested in small details and formal rules.

  • 3
    Interfering old busybody. Nov 16, 2012 at 18:15
  • 2
    Will, how about "impertinent"?
    – user19148
    Nov 16, 2012 at 18:25

Some idiomatic names would be:

"Mother Hen" would be the person who is fussing over you (her chicks)

"Know-it-all" in a limited sense because they don't believe someone could be competent enough to know something as well as them


"Taskmaster" - Someone who needs things done their way

"Control freak" - that's my personal favorite

  • 2
    +1 for the last choice, but how do you think about "paranoiac" or "paranoid person"?
    – user19148
    Nov 16, 2012 at 19:45
  • 1
    @Carlo_R. definitely paranoid about trusting someone to perform a task on their own! I agree! Nov 16, 2012 at 19:49
  • 1
    @Carlo_R.: paranoid evokes quite another set of connotations, not at all doing something for someone, but thinking evil of them.
    – Mitch
    Nov 16, 2012 at 20:10
  • 2
    Patronizing micromanager springs to mind, too. (Sure, those words can be applied to broader contexts than what the O.P. asks about, but I could see calling the Mother Hen in the O.P.'s scenario patronizing, or a micromanager).
    – J.R.
    Nov 16, 2012 at 22:55
  • @J.R., absolutely! Micromanager ran through my head briefly, but then escaped. Thanks for the reminder! Nov 16, 2012 at 22:58

Patronizing is a simple answer but it fits for me. As defined by Dictionary.com:

1. displaying or indicative of an offensively condescending manner


While the previous answers of pedant and didactic are definitely right, those also have other meanings so that it is not clear what you mean. Didactic, for example, can just mean instructional.

I think the word that most closely matches this idea is simply preachy.

  • 4
    the problem with "preachy", to me, is that it has a feel of religious context. Maybe I've been preached to too much! :-) Nov 16, 2012 at 19:14
  • @KristinaLopez - I agree too. It has a religious feel to it.
    – Mohit
    Nov 17, 2012 at 3:51

When it is a man doing this to a woman, there is a particular neologism that comes to mind: mansplaining. It refers to the phenomenon of a man explaining something to a woman when she already understands the thing and does not need an explanation.


I think the word "didactic" comes close to what you are looking for.


I consider this micromanaging, and someone who does it a micromanager. Micromanage is defined as:

To direct or control in a detailed, often meddlesome manner.

It is not just a business term anymore. I use and have heard others use this outside an office setting.


I live with a husband like this. His sister is the same. They have to be giving instructions—can't even say goodbye without them saying ‘be careful of your speed’, or ‘put your seat belt on’. They watch what you are doing, and although they think they are being helpful, it can be construed as being a busybody—its difficult to live with.

I would rather make mistakes and learn from them than have someone continually correcting me.

busybody (OD)
A meddling or prying person


I am thinking to the verb overteach for the excess of explanation and, ironically, to chaperone for mothering someone.

a "chaperon(e)" is someone, such as a teacher or parent, who goes with children on a trip or to a school dance to make sure that the children behave properly.

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