I’ve got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications.
I thought I’d share some of this random crap with you in the form of another acronym-ific series. I give you – Word Origins from Left Field – that’s right, the WOLF. Er… ignore the fact that the “from” doesn’t fit.
If you follow my Twitter feed you’ll know that I had lice last week. I don’t anymore, but I did lose many, many hours of my life to… nitpicking. Which of course led me to this blog post.
If someone is accused of being a nitpicker, it’s usually not meant in a kind way. Nitpicking means that you’re searching for the smallest problems, the tiniest faults, in another person or object. This might mean that you get yelled at for not pre-rinsing the dishes, but there are positive elements to nitpickers as well. For example, you really want your copyeditor to be a nitpick because it’s their job to notice that your main character didn’t cross the space between herself and someone else before she slapped them.
Lice lay eggs that are called nits. They’re sticky, and they don’t come off your hair unless you have a specialized comb, or are willing to slide each one off each hair with your fingernails. Combs don’t get everything and I’m a thorough girl, so as I sat in front of the mirror last week, holding each and every strand of my hair into the light, I realized I was, in fact, nitpicking, spending a great deal of time and directing intense, tedious attention to a single task.
So I looked it up. And yes, we get our modern use of the term from these lovely, sticky, itchy parasites.