I believe this word came into common english usage as slang for "a nitpicking annoyance" during the Vietnam War era. I found references to it on Nasa historical archives, such as here http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a15/a15.lrvload.html
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Not seeing it, on b.g.c. --Connel MacKenzie 02:54, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
nit-noy is a liitle bit in Thai, as in "Thai nit noy" - I speak a little bit of Thai. ;-)