pains·​tak·​ing | \ ˈpān-ˌstā-kiŋ How to pronounce painstaking (audio) \

Definition of painstaking

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: taking pains : expending, showing, or involving diligent care and effort painstaking research painstaking tasks painstaking accuracy



Definition of painstaking (Entry 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

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Other Words from painstaking


painstakingly \ ˈpān-​ˌstā-​kiŋ-​lē How to pronounce painstakingly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for painstaking

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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: Adjective In painstaking detail, filmmakers Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance examine the implications of that, including its impact on policy. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Slay the Dragon' connects the dots on the political battle over gerrymandering," 2 Apr. 2020 Given the slew of colorful characters and dramatic details, Neumann could have turned her painstaking research into a historical novel. New York Times, "A Box of Secrets Led to the Story of Her Father’s Painful Wartime Past," 28 Mar. 2020 Each lesson is scripted in painstaking detail, and each moment of the day is a chance to reinforce language and vocabulary lessons. USA Today, "Two boys with the same disability tried to get help. The rich student got it quickly. The poor student did not.," 9 Feb. 2020 But new drug development is costly and time-consuming—often requiring years of painstaking research—and potential treatments rarely progress beyond the lab. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "Old Drug, New Tricks: Existing Medicines Show Promise in Fighting Cancer," 20 Jan. 2020 In painstaking detail, Malone broke down his team’s rebounding lapses. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "“Film doesn’t lie”: Nuggets exposed vs. Pelicans as defense draws concern," 27 Dec. 2019 His phase of the investigation, focused on DNA evidence and painstaking genealogical research, took more than a year and a half. Anna Bauman,, "The Scanner: DNA solves 1982 double-murder cold case in Fremont," 23 Dec. 2019 But because of painstaking research by a former Boston College doctoral student, a starkly different picture of Jackson has emerged., "Startled by this discovery, the vicar at Old North plans to revamp the tours there, change interpretive signs, and ensure that the 150,000 yearly visitors to this Episcopal church have an opportunity to learn about these newly unearthed connections to Colonial slavery.," 27 Oct. 2019 An exclusive clip from the film shows the painstaking detail that went into Rob Bottin's creation for the 1982 horror classic. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, "Horror Doc 'In Search of Darkness' Examines Creation of 'The Thing'," 7 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Both Corker and Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, credited McCarry with leading the painstaking, behind-the-scenes negotiations. Joshua Goodman,, "Back channel with Boston roots helped free Utah man in Venezuela," 27 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'painstaking.' 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 painstaking


circa 1685, in the meaning defined above


1538, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for painstaking

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The first known use of painstaking was in 1538

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Statistics for painstaking

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Painstaking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for painstaking


How to pronounce painstaking (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of painstaking

: showing or done with great care and effort


pains·​tak·​ing | \ ˈpān-ˌstā-kiŋ How to pronounce painstaking (audio) \

Kids Definition of painstaking

: taking or showing great care painstaking work

Other Words from painstaking

painstakingly adverb

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