mid-15c., "full of pride," from Latin fastidiosus "disdainful, squeamish, exacting," from fastidium "loathing, squeamishness; dislike, aversion; excessive nicety," which is of uncertain origin; perhaps from *fastu-taidiom, a compound of fastus "contempt, arrogance, pride," and taedium "aversion, disgust." Fastus is possibly from PIE *bhars- (1) "projection, bristle, point," on the notion of "prickliness" (Watkins) or "a semantic shift from 'top' to 'haughtiness' which is conceivable, but the u-stem is not attested independently" [de Vaan], who adds that "fastidium would be a tautology." Early use in English was both in passive and active senses. Meaning "squeamish, over-nice" in English emerged 1610s. Related: Fastidiously; fastidiousness.
updated on November 14, 2017