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Mike calls from Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania to ask about the word picayune, meaning “petty.” Why would a New Orleans newspaper call itself The Times-Picayune? The adjective picayune, meaning “trifling” or “insignificant,” derives from French picaillon, the name of a small coin of little value. In the 19th century, when the newspaper was first established, it was sold for just a picayune, or around six cents. This is part of a complete episode.

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