AskDefine | Define picayune

Dictionary Definition

picayune adj : (informal terms) small and of little importance; "a fiddling sum of money"; "a footling gesture"; "our worries are lilliputian compared with those of countries that are at war"; "a little (or small) matter"; "Mickey Mouse regulations"; "a dispute over niggling details"; "limited to petty enterprises"; "piffling efforts"; "giving a police officer a free meal may be against the law, but it seems to be a picayune infraction" [syn: fiddling, footling, lilliputian, little, Mickey Mouse, niggling, piddling, piffling, petty, trivial]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Adjective

picayune
  1. Petty, trivial; of little consequence; small and of little importance; picayunish;
    quotations:
    • "It might seem like a picayune matter, akin to the rivalry in the film "Monty Python's Life of Brian" between the Judean People's Front, the Judean Popular People's Front and the People's Front of Judea." —New York Times, November 17, 2005
  2. something not worth arguing about.
  3. an argument, fact, corner case, or other issue raised (often intentionally) that distracts from a larger issue at hand or doesn’t change a primary supposition, outcome, postulate, premise, conclusion, hypothesis, judgement or recommendation;
  4. small-minded: being childishly spiteful, tending to go on about unimportant things.

Synonyms

Noun

picayune
  1. A small coin of the value of six and a quarter cents. A 5-cent or 6-cent piece.

Extensive Definition

Picayune is also the name of a town in southwestern Mississippi.
A picayune was a Spanish coin, worth half a real. Its name derives from the French picaillon, which is itself from the Provençal picaioun, meaning "small coin." By extension, picayune can mean "trivial" or "of little value."
Aside from being used in Spanish territories, the picayune and other Spanish currency was used throughout colonial America. Spanish dollars were made legal tender in the United States by an act on February 9, 1793 until it was demonetized on February 21, 1857. The coin's name first appeared in Florida and Louisiana where its value was worth approximately six and a quarter cents, and whose name was sometimes used in place of the U.S. nickel.

References

picayune in German: Picayune (Münze)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a continental, a curse, a damn, a darn, a hoot, bagatelle, bauble, bean, bibelot, bickering, bit, brass farthing, button, captious, caviling, cent, choplogic, curio, cursory, depthless, detailed, equivocatory, evasive, exact, farce, farthing, feather, few, fig, finicky, fleabite, folderol, footling, fribble, frippery, full, fussy, gaud, gewgaw, gimcrack, hair, hairsplitting, halfpenny, hedging, hill of beans, immateriality, inconsequence, inconsequent, inconsequential, inconsequentiality, inconsiderable, inconsiderableness, indifference, ineffectuality, inferiority, insignificance, insignificant, irrelevance, jerkwater, jest, joke, kickshaw, knickknack, knickknackery, little, littleness, logic-chopping, low, low priority, marginality, meager, measly, meticulous, miniature, minikin, minute, mockery, molehill, negligibility, negligible, nice, niggling, nit-picking, no great shakes, one-horse, paltering, paltry, particular, peppercorn, pettifogging, pettiness, petty, picayunish, picayunishness, piddling, piffling, pin, pinch of snuff, pinprick, pokiness, poky, precise, puniness, punk, puny, pussyfooting, quibbling, rap, red cent, row of pins, rush, secondariness, shallow, shit, short, shuffling, skin-deep, slightness, small, small-beer, small-time, smallness, snap, sneeshing, sou, special, specific, straw, superficial, tinhorn, tiny, toy, trichoschistic, trifle, trifling, trinket, trivial, triviality, tuppence, two cents, two-bit, two-by-four, twopence, unimportance, unimpressiveness, unnoteworthiness, whim-wham
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