1 of 2


pains·​tak·​ing ˈpān-ˌstā-kiŋ How to pronounce painstaking (audio)
: taking pains : expending, showing, or involving diligent care and effort
painstaking research
painstaking tasks
painstaking accuracy
painstakingly adverb


2 of 2


: the action of taking pains : diligent care and effort
… greater painstaking to achieve incidental verisimilitude and accuracy of detail …Times Literary Supplement

Examples of painstaking in a Sentence

Adjective The book describes the election process in painstaking detail. she was always painstaking about her work
Recent Examples on the Web
On his July 2020 podcast, just ahead of Momofuku’s chili crunch debut, Chang talked about the long, painstaking process for creating the condiment. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2024 McAlister locked in the conversation after a year of painstaking negotiations with the palace, which kicked off with a pitch around Prince Andrew’s charitable work. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 8 Apr. 2024 But after a painstaking selection process, Graf decided to come to San Jose, and general manager Mike Grier, coach David Quinn, and even players like Henry Thrun deserve credit for that. Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News, 5 Apr. 2024 Working in near-isolation and with painstaking tediousness, the psychiatrist Hans Berger observes rhythmic electrical activity from the scalp of human subjects. Giridhar Kalamangalam, Discover Magazine, 4 Apr. 2024 Trump's lawyers contend thousands of pages are potentially important and require painstaking review. Compiled Bydemocrat-Gazette Stafffrom Wire Reports,, 26 Mar. 2024 Set on a high bluff overlooking the Alabama River, the park presents a painstaking narrative history of slavery, using first-person recollections, historical artifacts, and more than fifty sculptures. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024 His infamous Black and White ball is chronicled in painstaking detail over an entire episode with Zac Posen brought in to design the swans’ gowns (Murphy veteran Lou Eyrich handles the rest of the show's costumes with aplomb—and real vintage). Vogue, 21 Mar. 2024 The agreement, which is the product of long and painstaking negotiations, is expected to easily pass Congress. Robert Jimison, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'painstaking.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1685, in the meaning defined above


1538, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of painstaking was in 1538

Dictionary Entries Near painstaking

Cite this Entry

“Painstaking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: taking or showing great care and effort
a painstaking search

More from Merriam-Webster on painstaking

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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