Bob Haas highbob at MINDSPRING.COM
Fri Feb 25 18:10:14 UTC 2000

I've wondered about this, too, Beverly.  I was familiar with "picayune" from
reading from about middle school on, but I didn't actually start using it
until I heard Harry Morgan as Col. Potter on M*A*S*H use.  That was when I
was in high school.  Until that time, I'd always used picky.  When I heard
the character on the tv show use it, I inferred that it must be the more
formal form of picky.  Hmm.

> From: Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU>
> Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 12:43:17 -0500
> Subject: Re: picayune
> 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
> 'nitpicking')?

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