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

Pafra & Scott Catledge scplc at GS.VERIO.NET
Thu Nov 4 14:39:53 UTC 1999

"Ticky" and "nitpicky" were synonyms in 1940's in north Florida.  I did not
know what a nit was until 1948 when I read John Brown's explanation of why
he murdered all the children of slave-owners that he could, "Nits make
----- Original Message -----
From: Paul McFedries <lists at MCFEDRIES.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 1999 7:49 AM
Subject: "Nitpicky" (was RE: "Virtuous circle")

> 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)?
> Paul
> http://www.logophilia.com/WordSpy/
> > 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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