Pedantic vs Abstruse - What's the difference?

pedantic | abstruse |

As adjectives the difference between pedantic and abstruse

is that pedantic is like a pedant, overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning while abstruse is (obsolete) concealed or hidden out of the way; secret .



Alternative forms

* pedantick (obsolete)


(en adjective)
  • Like a pedant, overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning.
  • Being showy of one’s knowledge, often in a boring manner.
  • Being finicky or fastidious, especially with language.
  • "On the contrary, the fall was perfectly safe; it was the impact with the ground that killed him".


    * (like a pedant) anal-retentive, fussy, nit-picky * (knowledge-peacock) (sometimes applicable) nit-picky, ostentatious, pedagogical, pretentious * (linguistically affected) fussy, nit-picky * See also






  • (obsolete) Concealed or hidden out of the way; secret.
  • * 1612 , Thomas Shelton (translator), Miguel de Cervantes (Spanish author), The History of the Valorous and Wittie Knight-Errant Don-Quixote of the Mancha , Part 4, Chapter 15, page 500:
  • O who is he that could carrie newes to our olde father, that thou wert but aliue, although thou wert hidden in the most abstruse dungeons of Barbarie; for his riches, my brothers and mine would fetch thee from thence.
  • * 1667 , , Paradise Lost :
  • The eternal eye whose sight discerns abstrusest thoughts.
  • Difficult to comprehend or understand; recondite; obscure; esoteric.
  • * 1548 , Bishop John Hooper, A Declaration of the Ten Holy Comaundementes of Almygthye God , Chapter 17 Curiosity, Page 218:
  • the end of his cogitacions, fyndithe more abstruse , and doutfull obiections then at the beginning...
  • * 1748 , David Hume, Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. § 13.
  • It is certain that the easy and obvious philosophy will always, with the generality of mankind, have the preference above the accurate and abstruse ;
  • * 1855 , , History of Latin Christianity :
  • Profound and abstruse topics.

    Usage notes

    * More abstruse and most abstruse are the preferred forms over abstruser and abstrusest.

    Derived terms

    * abstrusely * abstruseness