punc·​til·​i·​ous | \ ˌpəŋk-ˈti-lē-əs How to pronounce punctilious (audio) \

Definition of punctilious

: marked by or concerned about precise accordance with the details of codes or conventions

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Other Words from punctilious

punctiliously adverb
punctiliousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for punctilious

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

How Should You Use punctilious?

A punctilio is a small point—a minor rule, or a little detail of conduct in a ceremony. A person who pays close attention to such minor details is punctilious. Punctiliousness can be valuable, especially for certain kinds of tasks, as long as you don't become so concerned about small points that you fail to pay attention to the large ones.

Examples of punctilious in a Sentence

She's very punctilious about grammar. old-money aristocrats with a punctilious sense of propriety

Recent Examples on the Web

Charitable work can be very boring, especially when recounted in punctilious detail. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘The Duchess’ Review: How to Survive a Royal Romance," 17 May 2018 Her poise is the result of a loving yet punctilious upbringing by parents determined that their fame and its accompanying perks were not going to mollycoddle their two children. Michael Callahan, Town & Country, "Show Business Royalty Carys Zeta Douglas Is Ready for Her Close Up," 1 Aug. 2018 Rather, the director and his lead actor, partners in life and art, have a punctilious approach where language is everything. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, "Review: A ‘King Lear’ in Which You Feel for All the Daughters," 12 Apr. 2018 For a punctilious approach to plants on pergolas, allow the plants to grow a few, rather than just two, permanent cordons. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow Your Own Kiwis In Your Backyard," 6 Feb. 2018 The punctilious, mild-mannered independent counsel appointed by a three-judge panel in the 1990s, Starr investigated all manner of Bill Clinton scandals, most spectacularly the Monica Lewinsky affair. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Robert Mueller Is No Ken Starr," 6 Feb. 2018 Talk-radio gurus in particular were punctilious keepers of the flame. Mona Charen, National Review, "Appreciating John McCain," 21 Sep. 2017 Both Mr. Diehl and Mr. Tepfer are punctilious young pianists with an interest in mining the history of their instrument. New York Times, "Pop, Rock and Jazz in NYC This Week," 20 Apr. 2017 Or not, because there was something Napoleonic about the ambition behind that infinitely punctilious façade. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "The Late Late Phase," 21 July 2016

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

1617, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for punctilious

The first known use of punctilious was in 1617

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English Language Learners Definition of punctilious

formal : very careful about behaving properly and doing things in a correct and accurate way

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More from Merriam-Webster on punctilious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for punctilious

Spanish Central: Translation of punctilious

Nglish: Translation of punctilious for Spanish Speakers

Comments on punctilious

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