overly particular, fussy, or demanding about details or aspects of something, especially trivial ones


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



meticulous, fastidious, finicky, picky, nitpicky, fussy, demanding, overcritical, exacting


carefree, relaxed, easygoing

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective persnickety
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • Jenny, always persnickety about her appearance, spent hours adjusting her outfit and scrutinizing her makeup before leaving the house.

  • The persnickety professor demanded that each student follow the exact formatting guidelines, down to the placement of commas and indentation.

  • Todd’s persnickety nature became evident when he insisted on rearranging the furniture in the office repeatedly until it met his precise vision.

  • Sarah’s persnickety taste in food led her to meticulously analyze every ingredient and cooking technique, ensuring that her meals were prepared flawlessly.


The word “persnickety” is believed to have originated in the United States in the early 20th century. It is an alteration of the word “pernickety,” which is a variant of “pernickety,” an English dialect word meaning “overparticular” or “fussy.” The exact etymology of “pernickety” is uncertain, but it may have derived from the obsolete word “pernicky,” meaning “meticulous” or “precise.”

“Persnickety” is an adjective used to describe someone who is excessively concerned with trivial details, overly fastidious, or excessively particular about small matters. It often implies a tendency to be finicky, nitpicky, or overly critical. The word is typically used to describe someone’s behavior or attitude, highlighting their fussy or fastidious nature.

The suffix “-y” added to “persnickety” is used to form an adjective, indicating a quality or characteristic. This suffix is often employed to convey the sense of being inclined towards or having the nature of a particular quality.

Variations of the word may include “persnicketiness” (noun) or “persnicketily” (adverb), which further emphasize the fussy or particular nature of someone’s behavior.

“Persnickety” is commonly used in a somewhat informal or colloquial context to describe someone’s overly picky or finicky attitude. It may be applied to individuals who exhibit a high degree of fussiness, fussing over minor details, or demanding things to be done precisely according to their preferences.

Overall, “persnickety” characterizes a person who is excessively particular or fussy about small details, showing a meticulous and often exaggerated concern for precision or correctness.