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 painstaking (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 Its approach is based on a painstaking process of identifying viral epitopes that are the target of the early T cell response. Cormac Sheridan, Scientific American, "COVID Innovations: Vaccines for Variants, Drone Deliveries, Print-Your-Own Shots, and More," 30 Apr. 2021 Today, Iraqi authorities, along with Mr. Ghazi and international supporters including the Smithsonian Institution, have begun a painstaking process of rebuilding the museum and restoring its place as a vital center of culture in Iraq. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Shattered by ISIS, Iraq’s Mosul Museum Is Rising From the Ashes," 30 Apr. 2021 But investigators also went through the painstaking process of examining tens of thousands of hours of video to identify the pro-Trump rioters allegedly responsible for the most vicious attacks against police officers. Marshall Cohen, CNN, "100 days after US Capitol insurrection, massive federal inquiry sees progress and roadblocks," 16 Apr. 2021 Breeding is a years-long, painstaking process of taking pollen from the male stamen to brush on the female style by hand. oregonlive, "Oregon State releases Midnight Roma, an antioxidant-rich purple tomato," 16 Apr. 2021 Public and private forests from every corner of France contributed roughly 150- to 200-year-old oaks that were selected through a painstaking process in January and February of this year, per the AP. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Hundreds of Centuries-Old Trees Felled to Rebuild Notre-Dame’s Iconic Spire," 12 Apr. 2021 Tuesday morning, lawyers were scheduled to start selecting a jury — a painstaking process often dependent on instinct, emotional intelligence and stereotypes over race and class. Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY, "Lawyers must find 12 jurors who can set aside what they saw in the George Floyd video. How will they find an impartial jury?," 9 Mar. 2021 Their restitution required the French Parliament to approve of special legislation, a painstaking process that took two years. New York Times, "A Painter Explores His Royal Roots," 3 Feb. 2021 In such a light, American conservatives are the radicals and extremists, proposing to erase the painstaking work that historians have done to revise the legacy of empire over the last half-century. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, "Raoul Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes Insists on Telling What Really Happened," 16 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some marketers have been making their own painstaking, case-by-case evaluations of the platforms. Nat Ives, WSJ, "Marketers Extend Their Social-Media Scrutiny Beyond Facebook," 13 Aug. 2020 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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Painstaking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce painstaking (audio) \

Kids Definition of painstaking

: taking or showing great care painstaking work

Other Words from painstaking

painstakingly adverb

Comments on painstaking

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