Where does the word “pernickety” come from and What does pernickety mean?

We have not much to say about the word pernickety; no one knows its ancestry.

It is alleged to have been born in Scotland, chiefly, I’d say, because the earliest appearance in print so far noted was in the works of Scottish writers.

But the date of such appearance was 1808, and that would scarcely account for the use of the term, or its variant, persnickety, as we used it in Ohio seventy years ago, in all parts of the United States.

If of Scottish origin it must have been early enough to have been carried to America by emigrants in the first half of the eighteenth century.