scru·​pu·​lous | \ ˈskrü-pyə-ləs How to pronounce scrupulous (audio) \

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

Other Words from scrupulous

scrupulously adverb
scrupulousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Did you know?

Scrupulous and its close relative scruple ("an ethical consideration or principle") come from the Latin noun scrupulus, the diminutive of scrupus. Scrupus refers to a sharp stone, so scrupulus means "a 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, it meant "principled," but now it also commonly means "painstaking" or "careful."

Examples of scrupulous in a Sentence

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 Ryerson, New York Times Book Review, 6 Nov. 2005 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. Roberts, Newsweek, 6 Aug. 2001 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 Foer, New Republic, 5 June 2000 She was always scrupulous about her work. The work requires scrupulous attention to detail. Less scrupulous companies find ways to evade the law. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Long overshadowed by her older brother, the tragic virtuoso Vaslav Nijinsky, Bronislava Nijinska (1891-1972) was also an important dancer and choreographer, and this scrupulous biography illuminates the formidable scope of her accomplishments. The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 And of course, most governments do not provide scrupulous oversight. Amanda Chicago Lewis, The New Republic, 4 Apr. 2022 As some app-makers may move to host their apps on less scrupulous app stores, Cook claimed, the overall result would be a weakening of consumer privacy and security. Brian Fung, CNN, 12 Apr. 2022 But Ruizpalacious, while not as deeply compassionate as Aldrich, is film-smart and scrupulous. Armond White, National Review, 24 Nov. 2021 Pediatric coronavirus infections seem to be somewhere in the middle: preventable in an ideal world, but hard for even the most scrupulous parents to avoid when state governments have tied the hands of health officials. Rachel Pearson, The New Yorker, 22 Sep. 2021 At times, the list has been abused by less-than-scrupulous officials. Joel Mathis, The Week, 16 Feb. 2022 Ah, the National Football League—an organization long admired for its progressive, scrupulous, and moralistic approach to race, money, player safety, public health, and popular music. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 14 Feb. 2022 Alex is likable: spunky, funny, scrupulous, beautiful, working on her writing in her rare free time. New York Times, 7 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of scrupulous

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scrupulous

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

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Scrupulous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for scrupulous


scru·​pu·​lous | \ ˈskrü-pyə-ləs How to pronounce scrupulous (audio) \

Kids Definition of scrupulous

: careful in doing what is right and proper

Other Words from scrupulous

scrupulously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on scrupulous

Nglish: Translation of scrupulous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scrupulous for Arabic Speakers


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