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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Resurrect An Old Word Today

One day as I was exercising at Curves, the manager was having problems with the new "Smart" machine. I chuckled and referred to the machine as being persnickety. Granted, I was using personification and giving the machine human attributes, but it surprised me that the manager had never heard that word. She had no clue what it meant. She thought I had made it up.


–adjective Informal.
1. overparticular; fussy.
2. snobbish or having the aloof attitude of a snob.
3. requiring painstaking care.
Also, pernickety.

1885–90; orig. Scots, var. of pernickety
Related forms:
per⋅snick⋅et⋅i⋅ness, noun
1. nitpicking, finicky.

Daughter #1 thought this was a hilarious state of affairs and promptly "borrowed" my word to use at her Toastmasters meeting as the word of the day.

There were lots of people at the Toastmasters meeting that had never heard of that word either.


English is a wonderful language. We have more words than any other language. Check out About English. I know we've stolen plenty of our words, but our language is richer for it. As a writer, I appreciate the variety.

Of course, new words are always coming into being. Language is a living thing. But I hate to see so many wonderful older words fall into disuse.

Please, find an old word and use it. Better yet, find an old word every week and make it part of your vocabulary. Send it out in your text messages. Use it on your Facebook page.

Don't let the old words die.


Leann said...

I love that word~~ I've even used that world :-)

Lita Harris said...

I have never heard the word either but I like it. :)