picayune

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DEFINITION

adjective
: of little value : paltry; also : petty, small-minded.

EXAMPLES
1. Jeanne only had picayune criticisms in regard to the new ad campaign, but that didn’t stop her from voicing them at the meeting.
2. “Currently, in our gridlocked federal government, we’ve read numerous accounts about legislators who won’t work together because they don’t like one another or suffered some kind of picayune slight.” — From an article in Suburban Trends (Morris, New Jersey), January 12, 2014.

DID YOU KNOW?
In the 19th century, in Louisiana and other southern states, a picayune was a small coin (specifically, a Spanish half real) with a low monetary value. The coin’s name derives from “picaioun,” a word that means “small coin” in Occitan (a language spoken in Southern France). It ultimately derives from the Occitan word “pica,” which means “to jingle” and which was created to mimic the sound of coins jingling. The real as a monetary unit fell out of use, however, and “picayune” joined “two bits” in the category of small amounts of money whose name eventually came to be used instead for things that are paltry and small.

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