In the television show and book series A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Daily Punctilio is an inaccurate newspaper causing trouble for the Baudelaire orphans. That's caught my attention multiple times, because there really aren't any other papers that use the same peculiar noun in their name. Turns out, a punctilio is a petty or insignificant point in proceedings. While that's normally more associated with courts, I can sorta see why the author, Lemony Snicket, chose the word for his paper. Punctilio was borrowed in the 1590s with a meaning of "point" from either Spanish puntillo or Italian puntiglio (from whence punctilious, "showing attention to detail", also derives). Either of those would be from Latin punctus, also "point", which as the verb pungere meant "to prick". Finally, we reconstruct it all to Proto-Indo-European peuk, with the same definition. You get the point.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd