rivet counter

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rivet counter (plural rivet counters)

  1. (idiomatic) A person who has an obsession with the minutiae of their particular interest, especially in military and technology history. Anyone preoccupied with small distinguishing features between different items.
    • 1979, A.H.S., “P-38 Lightning at war: book review”, in The AOPA Pilot: Voice of General Aviation, page 99:
      For the rivet-counters, there were 10,036 Lightnings produced, including 113 built by Consolidated-Vultee...
    • 1979, Geoffrey Till, “Destroyer Weapons of World War II: book review”, in The Mariner's Mirror, page 377:
      Peter Hodges' survey will certainly be of interest to naval rivet-counters and ship-modellers but, unfortunately, probably to few others.