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picayune

[pik-ee-yoon, pik-uh-] /ˌpɪk iˈyun, ˌpɪk ə-/
adjective, Also, picayunish, Informal.
1.
of little value or account; small; trifling:
a picayune amount.
2.
petty, carping, or prejudiced:
I didn't want to seem picayune by criticizing.
noun
3.
(formerly, in Louisiana, Florida, etc.) a coin equal to half a Spanish real.
4.
any small coin, as a five-cent piece.
5.
Informal. an insignificant person or thing.
Origin
1780-1790
1780-90; < Provençal picaioun small copper coin (compare French picaillons), derivative of an onomatopoetic base *pikk- beat, here referring to the coining of coppers
Related forms
picayunishly, adverb
picayunishness, noun
Synonyms
1. trivial, insignificant. 2. narrow-minded.

Picayune

[pik-uh-yoon, pik-ee-] /ˌpɪk əˈyun, ˌpɪk i-/
noun
1.
a town in SE Mississippi.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for picayune
  • Good humored writing is far too rare a commodity for anyone to be picayune about it.
  • The holiday season is that special time of the year when my being picayune brings added delight to my heart.
  • We have to answer this question at the macroscopic level, not by examining the learning of some picayune item.
  • See what else you can find to be picayune about in my comment.
  • Generally, the feds don't seem to bring picayune cases to court.
  • But the picayune has a habit of occasionally discovering things that are not so.
British Dictionary definitions for picayune

picayune

/ˌpɪkəˈjuːn/
adjective (US & Canadian, informal)
1.
of small value or importance
2.
mean; petty
noun
3.
the half real, an old Spanish-American coin
4.
(US) any coin of little value, esp a five-cent piece
Derived Forms
picayunishly, adverb
picayunishness, noun
Word Origin
C19: from French picaillon coin from Piedmont, from Provençal picaioun, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for picayune
n.

1804, "coin of small value," probably from Louisiana French picaillon "coin worth 5 cents," earlier the French name of an old copper coin of Savoy (1750), from Provençal picaioun "small copper coin," from picaio "money," of uncertain origin. Adjectival figurative sense of "paltry, mean" recorded from 1813.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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