pains·​tak·​ing | \ ˈpān-ˌstā-kiŋ How to pronounce painstaking (audio) \

Definition of painstaking

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: taking pains : expending, showing, or involving diligent care and effort painstaking research painstaking tasks painstaking accuracy



Definition of painstaking (Entry 2 of 2)

: the action of taking pains : diligent care and effort … greater painstaking to achieve incidental verisimilitude and accuracy of detail …Times Literary Supplement

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Other Words from painstaking


painstakingly \ ˈpān-​ˌstā-​kiŋ-​lē How to pronounce painstaking (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for painstaking

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of painstaking in a Sentence

Adjective The book describes the election process in painstaking detail. she was always painstaking about her work
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The process was painstaking, but the actors got used to it. Claire Sibonney, Wired, 7 Oct. 2021 The interviews are painstaking, personal, and necessary. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 8 Sep. 2021 Cambodian archaeologists have begun the painstaking process of restoring some of the country’s thousands of ransacked temples. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Oct. 2021 Jeffrey Smith and his wife, Debbie Garrett-Smith, began the painstaking restoration process in 2016. Steven Lindsey, Dallas News, 27 Sep. 2021 Deb also wrote about the painstaking process to design the seats for the venue’s two theaters. Mark Olsen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2021 Hadar Gad uses her painstaking process to paint the disassembly of Danzig’s Great Synagogue. Chloe Sarbib,, 8 Sep. 2021 Then began a very painstaking effort: Azoulay, Heggeness, MIT PhD candidate Wesley Greenblatt, and a team of helpers Googled each of the applicants who interviewed for the program during that decade. Viviane Callier, Wired, 6 Sep. 2021 Expanding into other areas is a painstaking process that involves constant testing and retesting, mapping and remapping. New York Times, 20 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Maybe that’s why Keenan Scott II — who spent a dozen painstaking years perfecting the play that officially opened Wednesday at Broadway’s Golden Theatre — identifies his characters by emotion, attribute or condition, rather than name. Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2021 And after that painstaking work, sharks like Freya can be monitored to give scientists invaluable information on their migratory patterns., 23 June 2021 Now the Suns have flourished in his painstaking, perfection-demanding wake. New York Times, 21 May 2021 Some marketers have been making their own painstaking, case-by-case evaluations of the platforms. Nat Ives, WSJ, 13 Aug. 2020 Both Corker and Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, credited McCarry with leading the painstaking, behind-the-scenes negotiations. Joshua Goodman,, 27 May 2018

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


circa 1685, in the meaning defined above


1538, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for painstaking

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The first known use of painstaking was in 1538

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Painstaking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of painstaking

: showing or done with great care and effort


pains·​tak·​ing | \ ˈpān-ˌstā-kiŋ How to pronounce painstaking (audio) \

Kids Definition of painstaking

: taking or showing great care painstaking work

Other Words from painstaking

painstakingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on painstaking

Nglish: Translation of painstaking for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of painstaking for Arabic Speakers


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