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[per-nik-i-tee] /pərˈnɪk ɪ ti/
Origin of pernickety
1800-10; orig. Scots; of uncertain origin; the prefix per- occurs in a number of other expressive words in Scots, e.g. pergaddus thump, clatter, perskeet fastidious, perjink trim, neat
Related forms
pernicketiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pernickety
Historical Examples
  • You didn't use to be so pernickety, when you was punchin' on the range, Lon.

  • I remember she was most pernickety about her blacks after my father's death.

    The Judge

    Rebecca West
  • She meant it was God's house, I s'pose, but she needn't have been so pernickety.

    The Girl from Montana

    Grace Livingston Hill
British Dictionary definitions for pernickety


adjective (informal)
excessively precise and attentive to detail; fussy
(of a task) requiring close attention; exacting
Derived Forms
pernicketiness, (US) persnicketiness, noun
Word Origin
C19: originally Scottish, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pernickety

1808 (pernicktie, in Jamieson), "precise, fastidious," extended form of Scottish pernicky, of uncertain origin, perhaps somehow from particular.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pernickety



Overfastidious; finical; fussy

[first form 1905+, second 1814+; fr Scots dialect]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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