Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

persnickety

play
adjective per·snick·e·ty \pər-ˈsni-kə-tē\

Simple Definition of persnickety

  • : giving a lot of attention to details that are minor or not important

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of persnickety

  1. 1 a :  fussy about small details :  fastidious <a persnickety teacher> b :  having the characteristics of a snob

  2. 2 :  requiring great precision <a persnickety job>

persnicketiness play \-nəs\ noun

Examples of persnickety in a sentence

  1. <as she got older, she got more and more persnickety>

  2. <lacked the patience to deal with such persnickety tasks as hanging wallpaper>



Did You Know?

Persnickety people like things neat and tidy, but the etymology of persnickety doesn't provide the kind of clean, clear explanation that appeals to the fastidious. "Persnickety" was first documented in English in 1892 as an alteration of "pernickety," a word that has the same meaning. "Pernickety" goes back to the early 1800s, but from there, the word's "history" gets messy. Some say "pernickety" might be from a child's version of "particular"; others, that the "nick" part came from association with "knick-knack." Or perhaps the Latin prefix per-, meaning "thoroughly, played a role. But it's all pure conjecture-no one knows for sure.

Origin of persnickety

alteration of pernickety


First Known Use: 1915

Rhymes with persnickety


Learn More about persnickety


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up persnickety? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by propriety and good taste

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

maudlin angry prompt oily
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ