Wandering through the Thesaurus recently (as one does), I came across persnickety. What a fun word, rolling off my tongue so delightfully.

My mind presented me with the image of a little animal scuttling around, sniffing out that pesky misused apostrophe, tossing out unnecessary commas, tweaking passive sentences …

When my daughter objected to the ‘snobby’ connotations of persnickety, I sort of agreed with her.

But I remembered my enjoyment at listening to The Muddled-headed Wombat* on ABC radio many, many years ago. His very ‘sens-e-bubble’ friend Mouse often had to disentangle him and Tabby Cat from all sorts of interesting adventures. But— she also knew how to enjoy herself on their hair-brained antics.

And I also seem to recall a Missy Mouse that I gave my daughter when she was a toddler: Missy Mouse now resides on her daughter’s toy-shelf.

When I shared my word on Facebook, Tony Harris (author of Wombat Stories) rattled off a list of synonyms— pedantic, fussalacious, fastidious, finicky, pernicious and picnic-y—then wrote this verse for me.

A mouse in the house is fastidious and tidy

A mouse on the run has to be play hidey

From the cats and the possums

they must run away

no time for persnickety

when you’re lunch of the day…

So I’ll continue on my persnickety way, primping, polishing and perfecting your words,
but keeping a close watch for those cats and possums.

I’m sure you’ve come up with your own perception of persnickity.

I’d love you to share, or to tell me your favourite or fun word.

*The Muddled-headed Wombat, Ruth Park, 1962, Educational Press Ltd.

Desolie Page, editor
Being persnickety?

6 thoughts on “Persnickety

    1. Hi Suellen.

      Introducing our children to words that are fun, not simply functional, is one of the delights of parenting.

      Many happy hours of reading to you both.

  1. Fan-tastic – I’m glad you enjoyed the rhyme…

    I also loved listening to “The Muddle Headed Wombat” and enjoyed his antics…
    The illustrations that were in the books never did justice to fun imaginations of young children listening to the adventures on “Jason and the Argonauts” every afternoon at 4:30pm.

    I remember sitting in the car in the carpark waiting for my dad to come out of the office, listening to “Uncle Russ” on the ABC.

    1. Yes, indeed, Tony. They are fond memories. And wasn’t it such a joy to be able to create our own mental pictures, inspired by the talented story tellers.
      Every time I say ‘persnickety’ now I think of your verse – thank you.

    1. It’s been mulling around for a few days, but I decided to write this today during a longer-than-expected wait for Puggles to be serviced. Brings back lovely memories of listening to the wireless.

      I love the way Tony uses words, and the illustrations are gorgeous.
      PS Puggles is my car, the only one I’ve ever named (in case you wanted to know).

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