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


immediate, prompt, speedy, timely


belated, late, tardy

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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

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 Kallay said Sledge was a good employee who was always punctual and that everybody liked. Peter Krouse, cleveland.com, "Homicide victim Carnell Sledge seemed fine hours before he died, co-worker says," 6 June 2019 Martha Stewart was in attendance, punctual and surveying banquet tables littered with chocolates. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss, and Joan Smalls Suited Up in Louis Vuitton Menswear for the Virgil Abloh and Chrome Hearts Dinner," 10 Jan. 2019 Wizz Air was also the least punctual airline flying out of the U.K. in 2017, with flights leaving an average of 23 minutes late; Norwegian Air Shuttle was not far behind, reports The Guardian. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Flying Around Europe Is About to Get Even Cheaper," 16 Aug. 2018 Some particularly punctual power people are pushing back against all this. Bob Morris, Town & Country, "Two Blocks Away. Seriously!," 12 Dec. 2012 The top 20 most punctual airlines can be found below. 1. Condé Nast Traveler, "The World's Most On-Time Airline Is...," 8 Jan. 2018 New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has made a career out of being detail-oriented and punctual. Ryan Wooden, ajc, "Patriots coach Bill Belichick is just like most Americans at Christmas time," 22 Dec. 2017

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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Statistics for punctual

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for punctual

The first known use of punctual was in 1669

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More Definitions for punctual



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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More from Merriam-Webster on punctual

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for punctual

Spanish Central: Translation of punctual

Nglish: Translation of punctual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of punctual for Arabic Speakers

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