Last modified on 16 December 2014, at 23:01

persnickety

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

Alteration of pernickety

AdjectiveEdit

persnickety (comparative more persnickety, superlative most persnickety)

  1. (US) Fastidious or fussy.
  2. Obsessive about mundane details, demanding for precision.
    • 1905, Katherine M. Yates, At the Door: A Tale to Read Both on the Lines and Between, K. M. Yates & Company, page 7,
      Marjorie glanced up and down the long street. “Well, I never in my life saw so many different kinds of houses!” she exclaimed. “Aren’t they funny! Why, they look almost like people. Look at that little persnickety one over there — the white, white one with the green, green blinds — doesn’t it look exactly like —”
    • 1914 July 3, William H. Bowers, “The Use of ‘Tempest.’”, letter to the editor, in The Dial: A Semi-Monthly Journal of Literary Criticism, Discussion, and Information, The Henry O. Shepard Co., volume LVII, page 47,
      I have just read the article in your issue for May 16 on dialectic English. The word tempest recalls the surprise I felt at the beginning of three years' residence on Cape Cod to hear the word used commonly as an exact synonym for thunderstorm.
      Persnickety I have been accustomed to use in the sense attached to perjinkety, that is, over-fastidious. I do not know how the word was acquired or how common its use is.
    • 1919, Gertrude Harding, The Higher Aspect of Nursing, W. B. Saunders Company, pages 180–181,
      Her free and easy association with her fellow nurses is prone to break down her womanly reserve and natural modesty. Her assiduity in clinging to ideals of modest begins to abate as a result. She is inclined to think she has been too “persnickety;” that this is unnecessary when one understands “the naturalness of the physical body.” She wonders what is the use. And forthwith the foundation is laid for Moral Lenity.

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