per·​snick·​e·​ty | \ pər-ˈsni-kə-tē \

Definition of persnickety

1a : fussy about small details : fastidious a persnickety teacher
b : having the characteristics of a snob
2 : requiring great precision a persnickety job

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from persnickety

persnicketiness \ pər-​ˈsni-​kə-​tē-​nəs \ noun

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 the late 19th century 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 conjecture-no one knows for sure.

Examples of persnickety in a Sentence

as she got older, she got more and more persnickety lacked the patience to deal with such persnickety tasks as hanging wallpaper

First Known Use of persnickety

1889, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for persnickety

alteration of pernickety

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about persnickety

Share persnickety

Listen to Our Podcast about persnickety

Statistics for persnickety

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for persnickety

The first known use of persnickety was in 1889

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for persnickety



English Language Learners Definition of persnickety

US, informal + disapproving : giving a lot of attention to details that are minor or not important

More from Merriam-Webster on persnickety

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with persnickety

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for persnickety

Comments on persnickety

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


to deny responsibility for

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!