from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The act or habit of describing or regarding something as unimportant, of having no value or being worthless.
A jocular coinage, apparently by pupils at Eton, combining a number of roughly synonymous Latin stems. The word was inspired by a line in the Eton Latin Grammar that listed verbs that govern a genitive noun: "Flocci, nauci, nihili, pili, assis, hujus, teruncii, his verbis, aestimo, pendo, facio, peculiariter adduntur." Latin flocci, from floccus, a wisp or piece of wool + nauci, from naucum, a trifle + nihili, from the Latin pronoun, nihil ("nothing") + pili, from pilus, a hair, something insignificant (all therefore having the sense of "pettiness" or "nothing") + -fication. (Wiktionary)