picayune

[ pik-ee-yoon, pik-uh- ]
/ ˌpɪk iˈyun, ˌpɪk ə- /

adjective Also pic·a·yun·ish. Informal.

of little value or account; small; trifling: a picayune amount.
petty, carping, or prejudiced: I didn't want to seem picayune by criticizing.

noun

(formerly, in Louisiana, Florida, etc.) a coin equal to half a Spanish real.
any small coin, as a five-cent piece.
Informal. an insignificant person or thing.

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Origin of picayune

1780–90; < Provençal picaioun small copper coin (compare French picaillons), derivative of an onomatopoetic base *pikk- beat, here referring to the coining of coppers

SYNONYMS FOR picayune

OTHER WORDS FROM picayune

pic·a·yun·ish·ly, adverbpic·a·yun·ish·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for picayunish

  • I have become what I am, because to me the broad canvas alone is interesting, and picayunish prejudices are contemptible.

    Destiny|Charles Neville Buck
  • Mediocrity was in the saddle, and picayunish partisan politics held the center of the boards.

    The Hindered Hand|Sutton E. Griggs
  • Little she thought of Settlements or picayunish donations now.

    V. V.'s Eyes|Henry Sydnor Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for picayunish

picayune
/ (ˌpɪkəˈjuːn) /

adjective Also: picayunish US and Canadian informal

of small value or importance
mean; petty

noun

the half real, an old Spanish-American coin
US any coin of little value, esp a five-cent piece

Derived forms of picayune

picayunishly, adverbpicayunishness, noun

Word Origin for picayune

C19: from French picaillon coin from Piedmont, from Provençal picaioun, 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