Also found in: Dictionary.
Related to pick nits: nitpicking
To look for and point out small, trivial, or insignificant problems, issues, or faults to criticize; to nitpick. I know I'm picking nits, but the color of your character's bandana changes slightly about three times over the course of the movie—it was really distracting! Look, your essay was really strong and very well put together on the whole. I'm just picking nits so that you can polish your next essay to an even higher standard.
If someone picks nits, they point out small, unimportant problems or faults in something. If I had to pick nits, I'd say the service could be a little quicker. That aside, it was pretty much perfect. Note: The verb nitpick has a similar meaning, and there is also a much more frequent noun nitpicking. The critics, of course, nitpick — that's what they do. The book was the subject of seemingly endless academic nitpicking. Note: Nits are the sticky eggs laid by the head louse, a small insect that lives and breeds in human hair.
pick nitslook for and criticize small or insignificant faults or errors.
The image here is of the painstaking removal of tiny parasitic nits (lice or lice eggs) from someone's hair. The phrase originated in the mid 20th century, chiefly in North American usage.
To find fault in a petty way; nitpick.