"Nitpicky" (was RE: "Virtuous circle")

Paul McFedries lists at MCFEDRIES.COM
Tue Nov 2 13:49:12 UTC 1999

I would classify "nitpicky" as perfectly acceptable usage. As my
"legitimate source" I offer Lexis-Nexis, which reports nearly 1,000
citations. However, the earliest occurs in a Washington Post story from
April 21, 1980, so it must be fairly new. That explains why "older"
dictionaries (OED, Webster's Third New International) don't have it. I
did find it in the recently-published Canadian Oxford Dictionary, thus
solidifying its claim as my favorite lexicon. Can anyone find nitpicky
in any other sources (Encarta, perhaps)?


> I don't intend to nitpick, either, but this is not the first time
> I've encountered the verb, "nitpick," used as adjective, as in
> "nitpicky." Is this usage geographically determined, or has it been
> validated via some legitimate source?  The first time I heard a
> speaker use it (around 1989), another listener "corrected" her
> (This interplay occurred several times.)  What's the word on this
> issue?
>                     PAT

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