SYNONYMS | EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN 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. 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 Related forms pic·a·yun·ish·ly, adverb pic·a·yun·ish·ness, noun
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for picayunish Historical Examples of picayunish
Little she thought of Settlements or
picayunish donations now.
Mediocrity was in the saddle, and
picayunish partisan politics held the center of the boards.
I have become what I am, because to me the broad canvas alone is interesting, and
picayunish prejudices are contemptible. British Dictionary definitions for picayunish 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 picayunishly, adverb picayunishness, 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
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Word Origin and History for picayunish n.
1804, "coin of small value," probably from Louisiana French
picaillon "coin worth 5 cents," earlier the French name of an old copper coin of Savoy (1750), from Provençal picaioun "small copper coin," from picaio "money," of uncertain origin. Adjectival figurative sense of "paltry, mean" recorded from 1813.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper