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

Definition of punctual

: being on time : prompt

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Other Words from punctual

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for punctual



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Did You Know?

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 Study Suggests It’s Ideal for People Over 40 Years Old Supervisors also reportedly said that their staffers were more creative, had better attendance, were more punctual and didn’t leave early or take long breaks. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Microsoft Tested a 4-Day Workweek in Japan — and Productivity Went Up by 40 Percent," 4 Nov. 2019 Owen is always kind, punctual, willing to help his classmates and his teacher. Charlene Paparizos, cleveland, "Chagrin Falls Middle School salutes Students of the Month: Community Voices," 1 Nov. 2019 Once, when an NFL official led a morose meeting about drug use and its dangers, a few Bears noticed the never-punctual Payton missing. Will Larkin, chicagotribune.com, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 1, Walter Payton," 5 Sep. 2019 Three of Britain’s four most punctual rail firms are concessions. The Economist, "How rising rail fares and falling punctuality undermine confidence," 15 Aug. 2019 Every few years, a new Taylor Swift album comes blazing over the kingdom of popular song like some celestial event, perfectly punctual and blindingly bright. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Taylor Swift keeps getting older without growing up," 27 Aug. 2019 The least punctual time to fly is between 10 p.m. and 10:59 p.m., when the percentage of on-time arrivals drops to a depressing 73 percent. Christopher Muther, BostonGlobe.com, "Want to avoid airport delays? Don’t fly in the summer," 31 July 2019 Meaning: In a warming world, the prompt and punctual Austrians might take a siesta. Washington Post, "Melting autobahns, jaguars in pools, naked men on scooters. Europe faces an early summer ‘inferno’," 27 June 2019 For most Tokyoites, the line is an incredibly punctual and efficient transportation system for commuting. Washington Post, "AP Photos: In the loop: Tokyo from a commuter train line," 7 June 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for punctual

Time Traveler

The first known use of punctual was in 1669

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Statistics for punctual

Cite this Entry

“Punctual.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctual. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for punctual


How to pronounce punctual (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of punctual

: arriving or doing something at the expected or planned time


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

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Comments on punctual

What made you want to look up punctual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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