pains·tak·ing | \ˈpān-ˌstā-kiŋ \

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 \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for painstaking

Synonyms: Adjective

careful, conscientious, fussy, loving, meticulous, scrupulous

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of painstaking in a Sentence


The book describes the election process in painstaking detail. she was always painstaking about her work

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

After years of painstaking diplomacy, the agreement, signed in 2015, imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for relief from sanctions. The Economist, "Blame gamesAs the protests fizzle, Iran and the West consider their next move," 11 Jan. 2018 Both of those accords were the result of years of painstaking diplomacy by European leaders — and Trump unilaterally trashed them., "President Trump will get red carpet treatment in UK — and big protests," 11 July 2018 The process was painstaking and especially difficult for the live-action actors, who couldn’t interact with the virtual characters during filming. Adam Bargteil, Smithsonian, "How ‘Jurassic Park’ Made History 25 Years Ago, Propelling Computer-Generated Animation Forward," 9 June 2018 NBCUniversal’s painstaking restoration premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in 2016. Jacques Kelly,, "In 1930, Baltimore hosted the East Coast premiere of 'The King of Jazz' with Paul Whiteman. Unfortunately, the film was a flop.," 16 Apr. 2018 Rudd said that the investigation has been painstaking and that more than 240 pieces of evidence have been collected, with 200 witnesses identified. Washington Post, "World digest: March 10, 2018," 10 Mar. 2018 Monastero Santa Rosa is a 17th-century monastery that underwent a painstaking and dramatic restoration over several years. Town & Country, "These Are the 83 Top Hotels Around the World," 6 Oct. 2016 The fact that goal seems so distant and could take years of painstaking negotiations to achieve after a Kim-Trump summit may be what is fueling rising skepticism among some White House officials that the summit will take place. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Pessimism mounts ahead of historic Trump-Kim nuclear summit," 23 May 2018 The reward for such painstaking negotiation will be massive purse money and some greater clarity over who definitely should reign as boxing's best. Lance Pugmire,, "The Times' pound-for-pound top-10 boxing list," 10 May 2018

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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Statistics for painstaking

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for painstaking

The first known use of painstaking was in 1538

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More Definitions for painstaking



English Language Learners Definition of painstaking

: showing or done with great care and effort


pains·tak·ing | \ˈpān-ˌstā-kiŋ \

Kids Definition of painstaking

: taking or showing great care painstaking work

Other Words from painstaking

painstakingly adverb

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Comments on painstaking

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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