Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
A friend told me that for years he thought that picayune was from the adjective picky with the (vaguely augmentative ?) nominalizing suffix _ -oon_ (as in doubloon, cartoon, lagoon, spittoon, bassoon, quadroon/octaroon , etc.)
So there you have a perp voluntarily confessing: the gold standard for figuring out what’s going on in their minds. (But can you trust them? Huh? Was he read his Miranda rights?)
Pickiness of course is in standard usage a property of persons, and picayunity a property of details. However, picayune details are also quite often called picky details, and picky people are sometimes called picayune because their pickiness consists in picking at picayune (trivial) details. The usage overlap is vast.
Sure enough, pickyoon shows up (though not commonly) on the Internet:
The reason is the odds of you calling them back for pickyoon problem are much higher than the average person.
I don’t know why people have to be so pickyoon (is that a word?) or petty.
Okay, it’s made of graham crackers instead of gingerbread, and it doesn’t look much like its namesake, but if you can’t get over the little pickyoon details like that maybe you should just move on with your life and go join the Martha Stewart fan club.
[From a “Sopranos” transcript:](Shuts off radio) little things, pickyoon shit. Be specific. They know about the calling cards. I’m not in that.
This is probably being pickyoon, however, I would phrase it as “plausible science within the reality of the story – not necessarily our real-world reality.”
In the following nominal usage of pickyoon (historically the basic meaning was nominal, denoting a half-dime coin) you wouldn’t expect to find picky alone, but a nominalized form of picky fits fine.
I have to work tomorrow and I’m wondering if I’m going to be worth a pickyoon.
Picayunish is also a standard adjectival form: pickyoonish shows up (once):
“We have no wrong anwers in this class, Remember the game hide n’ go seek?, You don’t have to be pickyoonish about this stuff, If anybody finds a big box of crayons i’ll pay you for it,
The spelling pickyune(ish) occurs quite a bit more commonly, sometimes e.g. as a spelling of the town name of Picayune MS. It is less obviously eggcornish, but may be so in users’ minds. And of course any spoken instance of picayune(ish) with the standard pronunciation [pɪkiˈun] may well be thought by its users to be a form of picky, whether or not with _ -oon_ .
And, of course, anybody writing pickyoon may be just spelling an unanalyzed, non-eggcorned picayune the way it sounds to them. But at least one person wasn’t.
Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-11-28 11:18:45)
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .