picayune was our Word of the Day on 02/26/2014. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of picayune in a Sentence
our lives don't amount to a picayune in the great scheme of things
Origin and Etymology of picayune
First Known Use: 1804See Words from the same year
Synonymsbagatelle, child's play, frippery, nonproblem, nothing, trifle, shuck (s), small beer, small change, triviality
Related Wordsnaught (also nought), nothingness, smoke, zero; peanuts, pittance, song, straw, two bits; bunk, claptrap, drivel, folly, fribble, fudge, hogwash, humbug, humbuggery, nonsense, piffle, rot, trash, trivia; bit, crumb, dab, dram, lick, mite, ounce, particle, pinhead, scintilla, shred, smidgen (also smidgeon or smidgin or smidge), soupçon, speck, spot, tad, touch, trace
Examples of picayune in a Sentence
They argued over the most picayune details.
the picayune ponderings of a commentator who steadfastly believes other cultures are inferior to our own
Recent Examples of picayune from the Web
The barrage of facts and picayune contention deadened the room.
The assumption, in advanced circles, was that abstraction was wholly superior, raising large, lofty questions about the essence of painting instead of getting bogged down in the picayune details of postwar life.
They’re as grave as an administration sinking in the quicksand of the Russia scandal and as relatively picayune as an intramural standoff among House Republicans over the level of spending cuts in a budget resolution.
Yet some of the security measures here seem picayune.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'picayune.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
In the 19th century, in Louisiana and other southern states, a picayune was a small coin (specifically, a Spanish half real) with a low monetary value. The coin's name derives from picaioun, a word that means "small coin" in Occitan (a language spoken in Southern France). It ultimately derives from the Occitan word pica, which means "to jingle" and which was created to mimic the sound of coins jingling. The real as a monetary unit fell out of use, however, and picayune joined two bits in the category of small amounts of money whose name eventually came to be used instead for things that are paltry and small.
First Known Use of picayune
Synonymsilliberal, insular, Lilliputian, little, narrow-minded, parochial, petty, narrow, provincial, sectarian, small, small-minded
Antonymsbroad-minded, catholic, cosmopolitan, liberal, open, open-minded, receptive, tolerant
Related Wordsinflexible, ironbound, obdurate, obstinate, rigid, set, stubborn, unyielding, wrongheaded; bigoted, intolerant; biased, discriminating, discriminatory, jaundiced, one-sided, partial, partisan, prejudiced; brass bound, hidebound, old-fashioned, reactionary, stodgy, straitlaced (or straightlaced), stuffy; dogmatic (also dogmatical), opinionated, opinionative; limited; hick, unsophisticated
Near Antonymsimpartial, nonpartisan, objective, unbiased, unprejudiced; freethinking
PICAYUNE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of picayune for English Language Learners
: not very valuable or important
Seen and Heard
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