Sunday, January 22, 2012

word play

I have been saving up some of my favority "word for the day" links and am going to play with one for you today.

The word is "persnickity":

persnickety \per-SNIK-i-tee\, adjective:

1. Overparticular; fussy.
2. Snobbish or having the aloof attitude of a snob.
3. Requiring painstaking care.

Persnickety dates back to the late 1800s. It is a variant of the Scots word pernickety, which is of uncertain origin. Pernickety is perhaps related to other Scots words with the per- prefix, like perskeet which meant "fastidious."

Example (true one)): "Don't be so persnickity, young lady," my Grandmother Dice would admonish me, referring, as I recall to how particular I could be about getting my clothes folded "just so" when I stayed overnight on the farm. Somewhere along maturity, I let go of that craziness and now you could hardly call my socks, etc. drawer the evidence of a persnickity personality. Same goes for housecleaning which Mark and I seem to "trim" to bare essentials every other weekend. My Aunt Margaret used to iron sheets and underwear (so I am told) for her family, and my mom never did that. But she was "fussy" about her housecleaning and even in her late 80s she would pressure my dad to clean the chandelier in their Green Valley townhome when the slightest coating of dust was seen on the glass.

I like the word for the way it sounds, too: when you say it out loud, the mouth has to purse up and pull back tightly--so the sounds mirror the meaning.

Do you have a fav word you can "play" with today?

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