Of minute importance
I picked up an article last week in which one of our writers talked about “dealing with the minutia,” and it was far from the first time I had seen that.
The word for petty details, those of you who have had even a little Latin should know, is minutiae. It is the plural form of minutia, which would be a singular petty detail, and is a word unlikely to be encountered. Both would be pronounced in English as “my-NOO-sha,” a likely source of confusion.
Minutia, “smallness” in Latin, is linked to minutus, “little.” Minutus also gives us the English minute, pronounced “my-NOOT,” as in the title of this post: very small, tiny, trifling, of slight importance, etc. It is also linked to the homograph minute, which we pronounce as “MIN-it.”
You could also say that insistence on minutiae is also of minuscule importance, which also means petty or trifling. (It originally identified a small cursive script, as distinguished from the larger, often upper-case majuscule.) And there, the prescriptivist tide flowing high in my blood, I will insist that you observe that first u instead of writing, as many do, miniscule.
Some trifles merit your attention.