Both 书呆子 and 迂夫子 mean a pedant, and at least I know 书呆子 is usually used in derogatory tone.

I have never seen the word 迂夫子 until just now, and it seems to mean the same thing as 书呆子.

So I wonder if there is any difference. Is it also a derogatory word, or anything others that differ?

3 Answers 3


书呆子 is most accurately translated as IYI (Intellectual yet idiot), a phrase coined by Nassim Taleb. While "nerd" in modern English often refers to someone who is rusty in social skills.

迂夫子 is seldom used in modern Chinese. On those occasions they are used, it often refers to someone who adheres to strict moral code, sometimes in a way that embarrasses others. It is not a derogatory word, but sometimes used in a humorous tone.

  • Thanks and the article is written in 1956 FYI.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 10:15

书呆子 in modern language is more akin to:


迂夫子 is a good fit for:


Dictionaries do seem to give pedant as the definition for both. You can check out 91dub.com to see some alternative definitions.


书呆子 is more close to bookish. 书呆子 sometimes can be used as a neutral term, not necessary to be derogatory all the time.

迂夫子 is more padantic, stereotypical, and perhaps stubborn. 迂夫子 is obsolete already. It can never be positive or neutral in my opinion. I personally never heard of it in our daily communications.

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