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  • A pedantic critic of minor errors; a nit-picker.

    We owe this word to Sir Harold Nicolson, who introduced it to the

    world in the Spectator magazine in August 1952. In an issue of the

    same magazine later the same year, he described a doryphore as a

    "questing prig, who derives intense satisfaction from pointing out

    the errors of others"

    Sir Harold took it from French, in which it's the usual name for

    the Colorado beetle, hence a pest.

    From: The weekly email of

    July 13, 2008