My parents used to tell me I was “nit picking” when I’d answer their questions with long, technical answers, or when I’d parse their answers with detailed responses. The phrase popped into my mind today and I wondered where on Earth the phrase came from.
After some research, I discovered that it is not a very flattering word. The Dictionary.com website tells us that nit picking is a: verb- 1. to be excessively concerned with or critical of inconsequential details. 2.to criticize by focusing on inconsequential details.
adjective-1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a nitpicker or nitpicking.
Origin of nitpick: first used in 1965-1970, it is a combination of the words nit+pick.
A nit is the egg of a louse or other parasitic insect. Its first known use is before the 12th century, derived from Middle English nite, from Old English hnitu; akin to Old High German hniz nit, Greek konid-, konis.