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picky, undemanding, easygoing, unselective


ACT 10 (American College Testing), High School 11, Problematic and Annoying



How to pronounce pernickety (audio)


Dictionary definition of pernickety

Excessively fussy, particular, or demanding, often with small or insignificant details.
"His pernickety nature made him a difficult person to work with."

Detailed meaning of pernickety

When someone is pernickety, they may be difficult to please or satisfy, and may have very high standards for the things they are involved in. This can apply to many different types of phenomena, such as a pernickety eater who only eats a very limited range of foods or a pernickety boss who is extremely demanding of their employees. The term "pernickety" can also imply a sense of being excessively concerned with unimportant details, such as a pernickety editor who focuses on minor grammatical errors at the expense of the overall quality of a piece of writing. Overall, the term "pernickety" suggests a sense of fussiness, finickiness, or pickiness, with a tendency to focus on minor or insignificant details.

Example sentences containing pernickety

1. As a pernickety reader, Emily always notices every typographical error in a book.
2. The pernickety critic found flaws even in the best films.
3. His pernickety nature was evident in the meticulously organized desk.
4. The pernickety teacher left no detail unexamined while checking the assignments.
5. Being pernickety about her diet, Jane meticulously counted her calorie intake.
6. Pernickety about cleanliness, he washed his hands ten times a day.

History and etymology of pernickety

The adjective 'pernickety' has a charmingly whimsical etymology that can be traced back to the Scottish dialect. It is believed to have originated from the word 'pernick,' which meant 'precise' or 'meticulous' in Scots. Over time, 'pernickety' emerged to describe someone who is excessively fussy, particular, or demanding, often concerning small or insignificant details. The whimsy of 'pernickety' lies in the way it rolls off the tongue, much like the meticulous attention to detail it describes. This word's etymology captures the essence of being overly particular and finicky about matters that might seem inconsequential to others, illustrating the delightful evolution of language to express such idiosyncrasies.

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Further usage examples of pernickety

1. His pernickety habits were sometimes perceived as annoying.
2. Pernickety about his appearance, he spent hours choosing the right tie.
3. The pernickety artist found imperfection even in the most stunning masterpiece.
4. As a pernickety gardener, she arranged her flowers with absolute precision.
5. The pernickety baker measured each ingredient to the gram.
6. The dressmaker was pernickety about the stitching, ensuring every thread was perfect.
7. With a pernickety eye, she proofread the manuscript, finding errors no one else could see.
8. Her pernickety attitude towards her work made her an excellent editor.
9. As a pernickety historian, he paid close attention to every detail of the ancient documents.
10. The pernickety inspector found faults in the building that others overlooked.
11. His pernickety approach to music allowed him to become a talented composer.
12. The chef's pernickety nature was reflected in his perfectly presented dishes.
13. Despite being pernickety, his attention to detail was appreciated by his team.
14. Pernickety about her health, she never missed her daily exercise routine.

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