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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from painstaking


painstakingly \ ˈpān-​ˌstā-​kiŋ-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for painstaking

Synonyms: Adjective

careful, conscientious, fussy, loving, meticulous, scrupulous

Antonyms: Adjective


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Remains brought to South Korea would then be transferred to Hawaii, where painstaking forensic work would be carried out to identify them. New York Times, "North Koreans Are No-Shows at Meeting to Discuss U.S. Soldiers’ Remains," 12 July 2018 Nurses began the painstaking task of removing the more than 1,000 stingers from Tom’s body. Vanesa Brashier, Houston Chronicle, "Tarkington man survives aggressive bee attack," 3 July 2018 Finding answers for those anxious families can be a painstaking task. Bob Ortega, CNN, "For families of vanished migrants, unidentified remains mean answers never come," 15 May 2018 The painstaking task took 700 hours over 11 months and 56,000 Lego bricks to complete, but when he was finished, Brynjar had built the world's largest Titanic replica made out of Legos. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Autistic boy overcomes obstacles to build largest Lego replica of the Titanic," 25 Apr. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of painstaking


circa 1685, in the meaning defined above


1538, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about painstaking

Share painstaking

Statistics for painstaking

Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for painstaking

The first known use of painstaking was in 1538

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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