fin·​icky | \ˈfi-ni-kē \

Definition of finicky 

1 : extremely or excessively particular, exacting, or meticulous in taste or standards a finicky eater My teacher is finicky about spelling.

2 : requiring much care, precision, or attentive effort a finicky recipe … growing the finicky Pinot Noir grape …— Kim Marcus

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Other Words from finicky

finickiness noun

Did You Know?

You may be familiar with an advertising campaign featuring Morris, the "finicky" housecat who would only eat a certain brand of cat food. Morris’s tastes in cuisine are not only very particular, but very fine as well, and that’s appropriate given the origin of "finicky." The word came about as an alteration of "finicking," itself an alteration of another adjective, "finical." It’s believed that finical derives from the adjective "fine." "Finicking" also gives us "finick," a somewhat rare verb meaning "to put on airs" or "to dawdle about."

Examples of finicky in a Sentence

My teacher is finicky about grammar. a complicated and finicky recipe

Recent Examples on the Web

As shallowly as they’re drawn, though, the women, swishing in and out during the sittings, disrupt the movie’s stuffy atmosphere and enliven production designer James Merifield’s somewhat finicky aesthetic. Jeannette Catsoulis, kansascity, "‘Final Portrait’ draws a fuzzy picture of an artist | The Kansas City Star," 18 Apr. 2018 Now, all plants are different and some are more finicky than others, but in a lot of cases, the problem lies in the watering. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "This $8 Amazon Find Will Keep You From Killing Your Plants," 10 July 2018 Oddly enough, this worked well enough to manage my finicky, combination skin. Rebecca Norris, Allure, "I Tried a Japanese Skin-Care Routine for a Month, and These Are the Results," 9 July 2018 Earlier prohibitions on making cell phone calls and text messages aimed to keep drivers’ eyes on the road, instead of staring down at small, finicky gadgets. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Driving Without a Smartphone," 10 July 2018 Beyond rain, drought and finicky machinery, this year offers a new subject: a global face-off over tariffs. New York Times, "Trade Politics Comes to the County Fair," 9 July 2018 Looking at it requires finicky machines which use magnetism or electricity or both to bypass the bone. The Economist, "The eye's structure holds information about the health of the mind," 28 June 2018 Bamba wanted no questions to linger over an internal motor some deemed too finicky. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Orlando-bound: Magic select former Texas star Mo Bamba sixth overall in NBA draft," 21 June 2018 Bamba wanted no questions to linger over an internal motor some deemed too finicky. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "Magic select UT's Mo Bamba with No. 6 pick in NBA Draft," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'finicky.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of finicky

circa 1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for finicky

alteration of finicking

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Statistics for finicky

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for finicky

The first known use of finicky was circa 1825

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More Definitions for finicky



English Language Learners Definition of finicky

: very hard to please

: requiring a lot of care or attention


fin·​icky | \ˈfi-ni-kē \

Kids Definition of finicky

: very hard to please : fussy

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More from Merriam-Webster on finicky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for finicky

Spanish Central: Translation of finicky

Nglish: Translation of finicky for Spanish Speakers

Comments on finicky

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


noxious or harmful

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