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

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 Okonedo leans gleefully into her purring diva, a cat on a hot tin riverboat, and Branagh's Poirot has the persnickety calm of a man who has never been proved wrong. Leah Greenblatt,, 7 Feb. 2022 Her favorite food is figs, although the 90-year-old is a bit persnickety, The AP mentioned. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 1 Feb. 2022 There also was a persnickety season ticket holder who didn’t like the commotion when a T-shirt came his way, so Derk wasn’t allowed to fire anywhere near his section. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, 14 Jan. 2022 Hidetoshi Nishijima stars as a widowed stage actor and director who's very persnickety about his beloved red Saab. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 28 Dec. 2021 Few debates over Latin American literatures devolve into persnickety hair-splitting more quickly than quarrels over the question of what constitutes magical realism., 6 May 2021 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, 25 Feb. 2021 Take those persnickety precision police, who keep hounding us to unmask our meaning. Gary Gilson, Star Tribune, 26 Dec. 2020 This summer offers all the variety even the most persnickety TV fan could want, with returning favorites and new series., 4 June 2019 See More

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.

First Known Use of persnickety

1889, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for persnickety

alteration of pernickety

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The first known use of persnickety was in 1889

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Cite this Entry

“Persnickety.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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