meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Definition of meticulous

: marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details a meticulous researcher

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Other Words from meticulous

meticulosity \ mə-​ˌti-​kyə-​ˈlä-​sə-​tē How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \ noun
meticulously \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​lē How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \ adverb
meticulousness \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​nəs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for meticulous

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for meticulous

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

Meticulous Has Fearful Roots

It may surprise you to learn that meticulous is derived from the Latin word for "fearful" - meticulosus - and ultimately comes from the Latin noun metus, meaning "fear." Although meticulous currently has no "fearful" meanings, it was originally used as a synonym of frightened and timid. This sense had fallen into disuse by 1700, and in the 19th century meticulous acquired a new sense of "overly and timidly careful" (probably influenced by the French word méticuleux). This in turn led to the current meaning of "painstakingly careful," with no connotations of fear at all. The newest use was controversial among some usage commentators at first, but it has since become by far the most common meaning and is no longer considered an error.

Examples of meticulous in a Sentence

Always meticulous about his appearance in the past, he had become dirty and unkempt, with straggly hair, stained clothes, and patches of silver stubble on his chin. — Minette Walters, Fox Evil, 2002 She was very much the craftswoman, all her work meticulous, slow, perfect. — Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998 In dense, meticulous arguments … Brooten mounts an assault on that view. — Cullen Murphy, Atlantic, August 1993 He described the scene in meticulous detail. He is meticulous about keeping accurate records.
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Recent Examples on the Web The solid platinum dial is meticulous finished to offer a deep luster and great sheen. Roberta Naas, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 In her novel, Wharton describes in meticulous detail myriad gowns and pieces of jewelry, various properties, priceless artworks and much more. New York Times, 26 Jan. 2021 The workmanship is meticulous and stands as a testament to skill and possibility. Vogue, 17 Sep. 2021 However, catheterization technique needs to be meticulous to avoid introducing bacteria. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 9 Sep. 2021 Its meticulous arrangements, pristine production and densely layered vocals imply years of obsessive work, but it rarely gets bogged down in details. Jem Aswad, Variety, 14 Sep. 2021 The first glimpse of Abu Ghraib comes fairly early, after Schrader has introduced William’s meticulous routine on the road. David Sims, The Atlantic, 12 Sep. 2021 Even the most meticulous and experienced divers can experience dangerous equipment failure or other mishaps that can have severe consequences. Chauncey Crail, Robb Report, 12 Sep. 2021 Downie’s meticulous fact-gathering over the past five years that has earned the local beer industry’s favor. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meticulous.' 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 meticulous

1827, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for meticulous

earlier, "fearful," borrowed from Latin metīculōsus, metūculōsus "timid, apprehensive," from metū-, stem of metus "fear, dread" (of uncertain origin) + -culōsus (in perīculōsus "involving danger, perilous")

Note: The senses "overscrupulous," then "careful, scrupulous" may depend on French méticuleux, for which these meanings are attested somewhat earlier than in English.

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Time Traveler for meticulous

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The first known use of meticulous was in 1827

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Dictionary Entries Near meticulous

metical

meticulous

métier

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meticulous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meticulous. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for meticulous

meticulous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of meticulous

: very careful about doing something in an extremely accurate and exact way

meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈtik-yə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Kids Definition of meticulous

: showing extreme or excessive care in thinking about or dealing with small details a meticulous description

More from Merriam-Webster on meticulous

Nglish: Translation of meticulous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of meticulous for Arabic Speakers

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