Etymology: Occitan picaioun, a small coin, from picaio money, from pica to jingle, of imitative origin
Date: 1804
1 a: a Spanish half real piece formerly current in the South b: half dime
2: something trivial

Originally pronounced something rhyming with “Pick a yoon,” the prevalence of this word in the titles of so many newspapers seems to have created a new pronunciation something along the lines of “Pick Cane.”

Picayune is the name of a small city in Mississippi. Picayune was founded in 1904, named by Eliza Jane Poitevent Nicholson, the owner and the publisher of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Established as The Picayune in 1837, the paper’s initial price was one a Spanish coin equivalent to 6 and 1/4 cents, 1/16 of a dollar. It became the Times-Picayune after merging with its rival paper, the New Orleans Times, in 1914.

On the Gulf Coast, Picayune is still recovering from Katrina.


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