fin·​icky ˈfi-ni-kē How to pronounce finicky (audio)
: extremely or excessively particular, exacting, or meticulous in taste or standards
a finicky eater
My teacher is finicky about spelling.
: requiring much care, precision, or attentive effort
a finicky recipe
… growing the finicky Pinot Noir grape …Kim Marcus
finickiness noun

Did you know?

If you’re a reader of a certain age (say, a Boomer, Gen Xer, or even a Xennial), you may remember cheeky television commercials featuring Morris, a finicky housecat who only eats a certain brand of cat food. (Morris is still featured on product labels.) 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.

Examples of finicky in a Sentence

My teacher is finicky about grammar. a complicated and finicky recipe
Recent Examples on the Web That said, finicky touch controls and unpredictable in-app EQ undercut the otherwise premium experience. PCMAG, 5 Feb. 2024 But sustaining life is a finicky, temperamental business. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 5 Feb. 2024 Comets are finicky, and predicting how bright this one will get is tricky. Phil Plait, Scientific American, 5 Jan. 2024 Rockets, especially new ones, are finicky and prone to failure, so that's not a simple task. Stephen Clark, Ars Technica, 5 Oct. 2023 If your cat doesn’t enjoy the top entry — like one finicky feline on our tester team — then the front entry is another option. Barbara Bellesi Zito, Peoplemag, 20 Sep. 2023 The basic premise was this: Public and critical perception is finicky—and collective taste is always evolving. Ryan Reed, SPIN, 25 Dec. 2023 Shelling out for finicky, expensive hardware might seem pointless when computer composition programs like Ableton can do nearly the same thing. Zoë Beery, New York Times, 8 Dec. 2023 And while the narrow last and low volume is ideal for those finicky feet, the real key to the way this boot drives a ski can be found in the cuff. Douglas Schnitzspahn, Travel + Leisure, 21 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'finicky.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration of finicking

First Known Use

circa 1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of finicky was circa 1825


Dictionary Entries Near finicky

Cite this Entry

“Finicky.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


fin·​icky ˈfin-i-kē How to pronounce finicky (audio)
: very hard to please : fussy
a finicky eater
finickiness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on finicky

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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