adjective scru·pu·lous \ ˈskrü-pyə-ləs \
|Updated on: 2 Aug 2018

Definition of scrupulous

1 : having moral integrity : acting in strict regard for what is considered right or proper
2 : punctiliously exact : painstaking
  • working with scrupulous care





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Examples of scrupulous in a Sentence

  1. While many assume that a conservative reading of the Constitution will lead inevitably to a conservative interpretation, Amar has argued, in scholarly articles and in a previous book, "The Bill of Rights," that paying scrupulous attention to the text, history and structure of the Constitution often reveals support for liberal outcomes. —James RyersonNew York Times Book Review6 Nov. 2005
  2. Most clients praise the lawyer effusively. Rubenstein declares that Grubman never represents both parties in any one matter, is scrupulous in disclosing his relations to all his clients and abides by the conflict rules of the legal profession. —Johnnie L. RobertsNewsweek6 Aug. 2001
  3. Tax-shelter proliferation has reached such epidemic proportions that it has actually spurred a backlash among the more conscientious members of the tax profession. A few scrupulous tax lawyers have anonymously leaked details of shelter schemes to the IRS. —Franklin FoerNew Republic5 June 2000
  4. She was always scrupulous about her work.

  5. The work requires scrupulous attention to detail.

  6. Less scrupulous companies find ways to evade the law.

Recent Examples of scrupulous from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Scrupulous and its close relative "scruple" ("an ethical consideration") come from the Latin noun scrupulus, the diminutive of "scrupus." "Scrupus" refers to a sharp stone, so scrupulus means "small sharp stone." "Scrupus" retained its literal meaning but eventually also came to be used with the metaphorical meaning "a source of anxiety or uneasiness," the way a sharp pebble in one's shoe would be a source of pain. When the adjective "scrupulous" entered the language in the 15th century, it meant "principled." Now it also commonly means "painstaking" or "careful."

Origin and Etymology of scrupulous

Middle English, from Latin scrupulosus, from scrupulus — see 2scruple

Synonym Discussion of scrupulous

upright, honest, just, conscientious, scrupulous, honorable mean having or showing a strict regard for what is morally right. upright implies a strict adherence to moral principles.
    • a stern and upright minister
honest stresses adherence to such virtues as truthfulness, candor, or fairness.
    • known for being honest in business dealings
just stresses conscious choice and regular practice of what is right or equitable.
    • workers given just compensation
conscientious and scrupulous imply an active moral sense governing all one's actions and painstaking efforts to follow one's conscience.
    • conscientious in the completion of her assignments
    • scrupulous in carrying out the terms of the will
honorable suggests a firm holding to codes of right behavior and the guidance of a high sense of honor and duty.
    • a difficult but honorable decision
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

SCRUPULOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of scrupulous for English Language Learners

  • : very careful about doing something correctly

  • : careful about doing what is honest and morally right

SCRUPULOUS Defined for Kids


adjective scru·pu·lous \ ˈskrü-pyə-ləs \

Definition of scrupulous for Students

: careful in doing what is right and proper



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