Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Fri Feb 25 17:43:17 UTC 2000

I too have known the word all my life--from very non-francophone Minnesota
(though not too far from Canada, of course; we also had 'shivaree').  Since
Bethany, Vicki, Ron, Rudy, and I are all in roughly the same age category
(I don't know about Sean), it may indeed be that the word is passing out of
use; I'll ask my class.  I'm not sure I would have known how to spell
'picayune' as a child; it was used orally and colloquially, as in "That's
really picayune stuff."

Just a guess:  Might 'picky' as an adj. meaning fussy or
looking-for-something-to-criticize have come from 'picayune' (anglicized by
people who wouldn't have known the spelling)?  Or is that just a sound
coincidence, with 'pick at'  the more likely source (as it is the source of

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