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 El Al is, putting it charitably, not quite in the same category, and is one of the world’s least-punctual airlines. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Israel and U.A.E. Are No Match as They Fly Friendly Skies," 31 Aug. 2020 Their first meeting ran over schedule by 10 minutes—a huge deal for the famously punctual Queen. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "The Queen Liked Meghan Markle As Soon As She Met Her," 12 Aug. 2020 In today’s world, sometimes being punctual can mean the difference between nabbing your dream job or being left in the dust. Brittany Vincent, CNN Underscored, "5 retro tech products that are far from obsolete," 3 Aug. 2020 The data showed that BART fell short of its goal to deliver punctual service 94% of the time from October through December of last year, instead hovering around 92% for on-time service. SFChronicle.com, "BART train delayed? Your fellow riders are mostly to blame," 27 Feb. 2020 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

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

Last Updated

7 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Punctual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctual. Accessed 1 Oct. 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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