meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Definition of meticulous

: marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details a meticulous researcher

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from meticulous

meticulosity \ mə-​ˌti-​kyə-​ˈlä-​sə-​tē How to pronounce meticulosity (audio) \ noun
meticulously \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​lē How to pronounce meticulously (audio) \ adverb
meticulousness \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​nəs How to pronounce meticulousness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for meticulous

Synonyms

careful, conscientious, fussy, loving, painstaking, scrupulous

Antonyms

careless

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for meticulous

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

Meticulous Has Fearful Roots

It may surprise you to learn that meticulous is derived from the Latin word for "fearful" - meticulosus - and ultimately comes from the Latin noun metus, meaning "fear." Although meticulous currently has no "fearful" meanings, it was originally used as a synonym of frightened and timid. This sense had fallen into disuse by 1700, and in the 19th century meticulous acquired a new sense of "overly and timidly careful" (probably influenced by the French word méticuleux). This in turn led to the current meaning of "painstakingly careful," with no connotations of fear at all. The newest use was controversial among some usage commentators at first, but it has since become by far the most common meaning and is no longer considered an error.

Examples of meticulous in a Sentence

Always meticulous about his appearance in the past, he had become dirty and unkempt, with straggly hair, stained clothes, and patches of silver stubble on his chin. — Minette Walters, Fox Evil, 2002 She was very much the craftswoman, all her work meticulous, slow, perfect. — Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998 In dense, meticulous arguments … Brooten mounts an assault on that view. — Cullen Murphy, Atlantic, August 1993 He described the scene in meticulous detail. He is meticulous about keeping accurate records.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The word choice is telling, for if the policy wonk is smart, meticulous, and objective, his or her evil twin is the emotional, bombastic, and partisan politician. John Patrick Leary, The New Republic, "How Washington’s Elite Learned to Love Policy Wonks," 5 July 2019 Keyes proved to be a frighteningly capable and meticulous criminal. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "Serial killer Israel Keyes will give you nightmares in true-crime book 'American Predator'," 1 July 2019 Angie was an avid gardener, and for many years while living on Forbes Street, passersby would stop their cars on the side of the road to gaze at her large and meticulous flower gardens. courant.com, "Angela Marie Prasser," 7 June 2019 Blair is meticulous about her life, paying her bills on time, keeping her house impeccably neat. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019 The Basics Unlike gluing a strip of falsies to your lash line, the process of applying eyelash extensions is much more meticulous. Megan Decker, refinery29.com, "Everything You Need To Know About Eyelash Extensions," 8 June 2019 The store, which kept meticulous records, had moved nearly 550 shahtoosh shawls during the previous decade. National Geographic, "A rare antelope is being killed to make $20,000 scarves," 24 Apr. 2019 Lithgow plays Ed, a meticulous doomsday prepper who buys canned goods, batteries and gas every day and stashes it in a secret bunker. Katie Walsh, Twin Cities, "‘Tomorrow Man’ script fails fascinating characters, but Danner, Lithgow shine," 6 June 2019 But for an author so meticulous about the complexity of Middle-Earth, the story can't quite scratch the surface of Tolkien's mostly Boy Scout-like reputation. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Tolkien': A Life Where Fantasy Met Reality," 3 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meticulous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of meticulous

1827, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for meticulous

earlier, "fearful," borrowed from Latin metīculōsus, metūculōsus "timid, apprehensive," from metū-, stem of metus "fear, dread" (of uncertain origin) + -culōsus (in perīculōsus "involving danger, perilous")

Note: The senses "overscrupulous," then "careful, scrupulous" may depend on French méticuleux, for which these meanings are attested somewhat earlier than in English.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about meticulous

Listen to Our Podcast about meticulous

Dictionary Entries near meticulous

methysergide

metic

metical

meticulous

métier

metif

métis

Statistics for meticulous

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for meticulous

The first known use of meticulous was in 1827

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for meticulous

meticulous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of meticulous

: very careful about doing something in an extremely accurate and exact way

meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈtik-yə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Kids Definition of meticulous

: showing extreme or excessive care in thinking about or dealing with small details a meticulous description

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on meticulous

What made you want to look up meticulous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

having no luck

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!