punctilio

noun

punc·​til·​io ˌpəŋk-ˈti-lē-ˌō How to pronounce punctilio (audio)
plural punctilios
1
: a minute detail of conduct in a ceremony or in observance of a code
2
: careful observance of forms (as in social conduct)

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How Should You Use punctilio?

We'll get straight to the point: there are a number of English words that come from Latin pungere, meaning "to prick" or "to sting." Punctilio is one of these words. It traces back to pungere by way of Italian puntiglio (meaning "small point," "point of honor," or "scruple"), Spanish puntillo (the diminutive of punto, meaning "point"), and Latin punctum (also meaning "point"). The adjective punctilious, meaning "marked by or concerned about precise accordance with the details of codes or conventions," is a close relative of punctilio. Do you have any guesses for other pungere derivatives? Punctuate, puncture, compunction, punctual, and pungent are some of the more common ones.

Word History

Etymology

Italian & Spanish; Italian puntiglio point of honor, scruple, from Spanish puntillo, from diminutive of punto point, from Latin punctum

First Known Use

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of punctilio was in 1596

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Dictionary Entries Near punctilio

Cite this Entry

“Punctilio.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctilio. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

punctilio

noun
punc·​til·​io ˌpəŋ(k)-ˈtil-ē-ˌō How to pronounce punctilio (audio)
plural punctilios
1
: a small but important detail of conduct in a ceremony or in following a set of rules
2
: careful following of set ways of doing things (as in social conduct)
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