3 thoughts on “Headlice

  1. I’ve done this, but only with nits, not with lice. Since then, I have never had any trouble explaining to my students where the word “nitpicker” comes from.

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    • “Nitpick” was apparently first used in 1956. But here is an interesting bit from The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing-World (1668) by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. Detailed but futile investigation by Lice-men (mathematicians). She also has it in for Spider-Man and Magpie-men. Worth a look. “Then came the Lice-men, and endeavoured to measure all things to a hairs-breadth, and weigh them to an Atom; but their weights would seldom agree, especially in the weighing of Air, which they found a task impossible to be done; at which the Empress began to be displeased, and told them, that there was neither Truth nor Justice in their Profession; and so dissolved their society.”

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