The Mother-in-law Challenge

27 May

picayune – n.  a coin of little value
__________adj.  petty, worthless

Classical Usage:  St Clare treats the poor child Topsy sort of like a family pet, and when she hid behind his chair because she was in some bit of trouble he would coax her out.  “From him she got many a stray picayune, which she laid out in nuts and candies, and distributed, with careless generosity, to all the children in the family; for Topsy, to do her justice, was good-natured and liberal, and only spiteful in delf-defense.”  I love how HBS breaks away from Augustine’s image of her by showing us her true kind colors.

Classically Mad Usage:  My husband was reading over my list of vocab words, and when he got to this one he was shocked that I didn’t know what it meant.  You see, his mother used this word all of the time when they were growing up to talk about things that didn’t really matter.  So now I have just one goal:  I will get my mother-in-law to use this word in a conversation.  I’ll report back when it happens.


Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin


Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “The Mother-in-law Challenge

  1. Jeannette

    May 28, 2012 at 6:43 am

    How does one pronounce this? Is it pick-uh-yune, or pick-uh-yu-nee, or something else entirely. Your husband should know, since his mom used it all the time. My mother, on the other hand, never once used it.

  2. Christina Joy

    May 28, 2012 at 9:49 am

    He says that she’s always said “picky-une” with the first syllable slightly emphasized. My extensive google research concludes that the emphasis is typically put on the final syllable, and could be pronounced “pick-ah-yune.”


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