Definition of picayune in English:


Line breaks: pic|ay¦une
Pronunciation: /ˌpɪkəˈjuːn
North American


Of little value or significance; petty: the picayune squabbling of party politicians
More example sentences
  • From all accounts, they are motivated solely by the desire to protect the Dear Leader from any picayune criticism of his divinely inspired policies.
  • His campaign has been forced to hire paid signature gatherers in a number of states and to shell out huge sums to fend off constant and frequently picayune legal challenges to its petitions.
  • Cogitating, considering, and contemplating about the grand scheme of things not to mention picayune matters is cheap.


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1A small coin of little value, especially a 5-cent piece.
More example sentences
  • While still agonizing over this traumatic separation, he is approached by a white man who offers him a picayune.
  • Occasionally, he says, in delightful retrospect, they gave him a "picayune or bit."
  • He removed the watch from his wrist and showed the sphere, a copy of a Spanish coin, the picayune, that was circulated in New Orleans when the newspaper was founded, in 1837, and whose value covered the price of a copy of the newspaper.
1.1 informal An insignificant person or thing.


early 19th century: from French picaillon, denoting a Piedmontese copper coin, also used to mean 'cash', from Provençal picaioun, of unknown ultimate origin.

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