Nit-Picking


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nit-picking

n
a concern with insignificant details, esp with the intention of finding fault
adj
showing such a concern; fussy
[C20: from nit1 + pick1]
ˈnit-ˌpicker n

Nit-Picking

 

chop logic To argue, dispute, or to pettifog, to bandy words; split hairs. This expression, which dates from 1525, is most likely an extension of the now obsolete meaning of chop ‘barter, trade, or exchange.’ Shakespeare used the noun form chop-logic in Romeo and Juliet:

How, now! How, now! Chop-logic! What is this?
“Proud,” and “I thank you,” and “I thank you not,”
And yet “not proud.” (III,v)

nit-pick To be overly concerned with picayune details; to look for inconsequential errors, often to the point of obsessiveness. A nit is the egg or larva of a louse or other parasitic insect. The task of removing all the nits from an infected person or animal can be almost overwhelming as it requires a millimeter-by-millimeter examination with a magnifying glass and tweezers. By extension, a pedantic person immersed in minutiae is often called a nit-picker.

When the nitpickers and Parliamentary horse-traders had nished with it, the program had shrunk to much smal1er proportions. (Washington Post, July 3, 1959)

seek a knot in a bulrush To look for errors or difficulties where there are none; to nit-pick; to pursue trivial, futile activities. Since knots occur only in woody plants, it would be both time-consuming and futile to try to find one in a bulrush, a grasslike, herbaceous plant.

Those that sought knots in bulrushes to obstruct the King’s affairs in Parliament … (Roger North, Examen; or An Enquiry Into the Credit and Veracity of a Pretended Complete History, 1734)

split hairs To make gratuitously fine or trivial distinctions. This expression refers to the fineness of hair and the subsequent difficulty involved in splitting a single strand. The expression is in common use today.

wrangle for an ass’s shadow To fight or bicker over trivial and insignificant matters; to nit-pick. This expression, once popular in England, is derived from a legend recounted by the Greek orator and statesman, Demosthenes (c. 384-322B.C.). A traveler who had hired an ass to take him from Athens to Megara was in such discomfort from the noonday sun that he dismounted and sought relief by sitting in the shadow cast by the animal. The ass’s owner, however, also wanted that shade and claimed that the traveler had rented the ass and not its shadow. The two men soon resorted to fisticuffs and the frightened animal fled, leaving both of them without any shade whatsoever. When the issue was pursued in the courts, the litigation was so lengthy and expensive that the two men were financially ruined. An earlier variation is gone to the bad for the shadow of an ass.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:

nit-picking

nitpicking
adjective fussy, carping, quibbling, pedantic, finicky, cavilling, pettifogging, anal retentive, captious, hairsplitting Perfectionists are fussy, nit-picking types who worry about every little detail.
Translations

nit-picking

[ˈnɪtˌpɪkɪŋ]
A. ADJ [question, criticism] → quisquilloso; [objection] → puntilloso
B. Nquisquillosidad f

nit-picking

adj (inf)kleinlich, pingelig (inf)

nit-picking

[ˈnɪtˌpɪkɪŋ] n (fam) → il cercare il pelo nell'uovo
References in periodicals archive ?
The things I take issue on are firstly most of us are heartily sick of the nit-picking negativity shown by supposed parliamentarians.
On a weekend break at a cottage in the countryside, however, his parents' constant bickering, nit-picking and long conversations about nothing lead the already stressed out Martin to a rather sinister conclusion.
"We should have - if I'm nit-picking - scored more.
Debbie Roberts Let's stop nit-picking. I don't like to see Christmas decorations up too soon either, but firstly, it's not even decorated yet, and secondly, at least it's better than Cardiff or Swansea's sorry offerings last year.
A NEWCASTLE restaurant owner has hit back at reviewers nit-picking on Facebook.
acted upon by gravity for 260 yard and the shot will impact higher." Sorta correct, but a little nit-picking is in order.
Once ratified we will be able to swiftly move onto the others and not get embroiled with the petty, nit-picking, of those nations we have no significant trade interest with.
I AM sick and tired of reading trivial letters on this page from councillors, nit-picking and point-scoring against their colleagues.
And he only slipped up once, despite the relentless nit-picking and show of hatred from Linda Nolan.
LiceDoctors emphasizes that nit-picking is labor intensive and that many parents do not have the time or resources to remove all the nits.
Year after year, reports by NGOs and welfare agencies unfailingly highlight these issues, establishing beyond nit-picking the inadequacy of governmental measures.