per·​snick·​e·​ty | \ pər-ˈsni-kə-tē How to pronounce persnickety (audio) \

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 How to pronounce persnickety (audio) \ 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
Recent Examples on the Web The show, which ended 17 years ago, starred Grammer in the persnickety titular character and was a ratings success during its 11-year run. Rob Picheta, CNN, "'Frasier' is being rebooted, with Kelsey Grammer reprising the role 17 years after show ended," 25 Feb. 2021 Take those persnickety precision police, who keep hounding us to unmask our meaning. Gary Gilson, Star Tribune, "New year, new opportunity to communicate clearly," 26 Dec. 2020 This summer offers all the variety even the most persnickety TV fan could want, with returning favorites and new series., "Summer TV 2019 heats up: Check out these cool shows," 4 June 2019

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

See More

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

Time Traveler for persnickety

Time Traveler

The first known use of persnickety was in 1889

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about persnickety

Statistics for persnickety

Cite this Entry

“Persnickety.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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