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

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Other Words from meticulous

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for meticulous

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The backup arrest strategy and meticulous planning over the timing of charges illustrates the complicated synchronicity of two parallel investigations into the most high-profile case of police brutality in decades. Andy Mannix, Star Tribune, "Feds plan to indict Chauvin, other three ex-officers on civil rights charges," 28 Apr. 2021 As with all things in business and entrepreneurship, successfully pivoting is a skill that needs to be learned through meticulous planning and research, as well as practiced with careful gusto. Roy Ferman, Forbes, "How To Successfully Plan A Potential Pivot For Your Business," 28 Apr. 2021 This must be kept front of mind, along with the meticulous planning and coordination required to coordinate and produce our time together each summer in Rothbury. Katie Bain, Billboard, "Electric Forest Pushes Fest to 2022: 'Having To Postpone Again Is A Special Kind Of Heartache'," 23 Apr. 2021 Despite the meticulous planning for D-Day, the troops were surprised by a centuries-old obstacle course: hedgerow country. BostonGlobe.com, "At age 100, a veteran looks back at D-Day, Battle of the Bulge," 25 Mar. 2021 This is the sort of distance that might require meticulous planning for low-income patients. Marie Solis, Fortune, "Texas’s power outage sparked a reproductive health care crisis," 26 Feb. 2021 Sarkisian’s news conference was big on organization and meticulous planning and framework and less on signing-day sizzle. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "How Steve Sarkisian and his staff handled their first national signing day with Texas on a quick turnaround," 3 Feb. 2021 Being slow, meticulous and thorough can make a huge difference when the results are revealed. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Nov. 23, 2020: Gemini, use expanded perceptions of empathy; Leo, avoid social media," 23 Nov. 2020 Garland is known in legal circles as a meticulous and methodical jurist, who seeks to build consensus among his colleagues and treats litigants with respect. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Mystery of Merrick Garland," 26 Apr. 2021

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.

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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.

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Time Traveler for meticulous

Time Traveler

The first known use of meticulous was in 1827

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Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meticulous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meticulous. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on meticulous

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