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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2010-01-06 05:31:05

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

"gnat-picking" for "nit-picking"

Nits and gnats are both small bugs that are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, though significant indeed to the person they’re parasitizing at the moment. They’re almost too good as substitutes for each other in this phrase – the reshaping doesn’t have the really striking change of imagery we demand of the best eggcorns. But I kinda like it. There aren’t a lot of these, and instances on Christian forums tend to look like knowing allusions to Jesus’ critique of scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:24: “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” But there are other examples:

Based on your gnat-picking here – I can’t imagine what kind of minutae your blog might contain? … h-edition/

I finally figured out what type of movement it should be! A movement away from divisive, gnat picking, division of us a country. … plies.html

A minor aggravation was that the TV remote control didnt work well, but I am gnat picking. … views.html

You shouldn’t spend your time on such a superficial criticism when there are more substantial things to criticize. In fact, I’d say that such criticisms make you look like just the gnat-picking Pharisees that many earnest and biblically conservative Christ followers are trying to distance themselves from.

The Database already has “knit-picking.” “Nut-picking” shows up, but I’m not sure whether any aren’t puns. “Knot-picking” was strangely absent except as the expected jokes on knitting and fishing forums, though perhaps I didn’t look hard enough. No doubt David B will come up with others.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2010-01-06 05:44:25)



#2 2010-01-06 14:23:13

David Bird
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1219

Re: "gnat-picking" for "nit-picking"

I’m not-picking up that challenge.

Edit: The curse has come upon me.

Political discussion (transcript) Sitaram Yechury: You are neat-picking for no reason.
Karan Thapar: I am not neat-picking. I am just pointing out that your August 7 statement is wrong.
Sitaram Yechury: My interest is my country’s interest, it’s not in neat-picking like you are doing.

I will try to cut down.

Last edited by David Bird (2010-01-06 15:00:57)



#3 2010-01-06 18:12:42

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "gnat-picking" for "nit-picking"

Don’t work too hard to avoid the curse—neat-picking is the better find.



#4 2010-01-07 02:42:18

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2183

Re: "gnat-picking" for "nit-picking"

We like your riffs, David. In working through last year’s posts I noticed how often you came up with an improved eggcorn by looking for alternates.

Funny about this one. I had on my agenda to do a post on “nick-picking” to enlarge on the “knit-picking” already noted in the database. I seem to have removed from my to-do list for some reason. (Later edit: Found it on my list. I need to add to my to-do list the item “re-organize to-do list.”).

Now that I look for “nick-picking,” I see it is a common switch. One example:

Post on dog lover forum% “No sorry i am NOT wrong stop the nick picking please”

Nit-picking is looking for little faults, yes? It maybe that that “nick of time,” referencing a tiny slice of time, is influencing the switch to “nick-picking.” Or perhaps it’s the sense of “nick” as a wee bit of damage. Anyway, smallness is the context that licenses the switch in terminology.

Last edited by kem (2010-01-07 04:31:03)



#5 2010-01-10 03:22:17

Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: "gnat-picking" for "nit-picking"

I can believe knit picking. For some reason it conjures up an image of someone holding a pair of knitting needles like a pair of chopsticks and picking at some minute object. Plus, since it sounds just like nit-picking, it’s quite credible that people would think the wrong thing.



#6 2011-01-04 15:06:28

Peter Forster
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 827

Re: "gnat-picking" for "nit-picking"

Whether picking nits or gnats or even nuts a nipping action with forefinger and thumb is usually employed:

The haters on this board should stop nip picking
It’s nit picking, not nip picking. How’s that for irony :).

They are also nip-picking small things that normal people wouldn’t nip-pick about.

You just broke a forum rule when it comes to nip picking about peoples spelling.

I am not nip picking but is an ant an animal.

For you northern folks, it’s nit-picking, but for us southern folks it’s nip-picking!



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