punc·​tu·​al | \ ˈpəŋk-chə-wəl How to pronounce punctual (audio) , -chəl \

Definition of punctual

: being on time : prompt

Other Words from punctual

punctuality \ ˌpəŋk-​chə-​ˈwa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce punctual (audio) \ noun
punctually \ ˈpəŋk-​chə-​wə-​lē How to pronounce punctual (audio) , -​chə-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for punctual



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The original meaning of punctual described a puncture made by a surgeon. The word has meant lots of other things through the centuries, usually involving being precise about small points. And today punctuality is all about time; a punctual train or a punctual payment or a punctual person shows up "on the dot".

Examples of punctual in a Sentence

the punctual delivery of the daily mail
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, my usual plus-one, a fiercely punctual person, is timing the start, her glare deepening with each moment past the scheduled curtain time. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Mar. 2022 Devices’ struggle to navigate shifting time zones can confound residents who pride themselves on being punctual, like Christina Williams. Jaewon Kang, WSJ, 11 Mar. 2022 Hawaiian Airlines continues to live up to its reputation for timeliness as the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has named it most punctual for the 18th year. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, 9 Mar. 2022 That's everything from being punctual, helping to set up the nets and being someone people can talk with at ease. Douglas Clark Usa Today Ventures Events, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2022 Better yet, these punctual, motivated individuals are routinely passed over in the job search without even a second glance. Julie Kliegman, The Week, 23 Feb. 2018 Society often urges people to conform to the qualities extolled in performance reviews—punctual, chipper, gregarious. Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, 10 Feb. 2022 Hawaiian Airlines is the most punctual airline in the United States, according to a new study shared with Travel + Leisure. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 31 Jan. 2022 Some popular countries for tourism are relaxing entry restrictions, and the world's safest and most punctual airlines have been revealed. Maureen O'hare, CNN, 8 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punctual.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of punctual

1669, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for punctual

Middle English, having a sharp point, from Medieval Latin punctualis of a point, from Latin punctus pricking, point, from pungere to prick — more at pungent

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The first known use of punctual was in 1669

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Last Updated

6 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Punctual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctual. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for punctual


punc·​tu·​al | \ ˈpəŋk-chə-wəl How to pronounce punctual (audio) \

Kids Definition of punctual

: arriving or acting at the right time : not late

Other Words from punctual

puntually adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on punctual

Nglish: Translation of punctual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of punctual for Arabic Speakers


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