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[peynz-tey-king, peyn-stey-] /ˈpeɪnzˌteɪ kɪŋ, ˈpeɪnˌsteɪ-/
taking or characterized by taking pains or trouble; expending or showing diligent care and effort; careful:
a painstaking craftsman; painstaking research.
careful and diligent effort.
Origin of painstaking
First recorded in 1550-60; pain + -s3 + taking
Related forms
painstakingly, adverb
painstakingness, noun
1. thorough, scrupulous.
Synonym Study
1. Painstaking, careful, meticulous, conscientious all describe persons or behavior demonstrating attention to detail and effective task performance. painstaking stresses diligent and assiduous attention to detail in achieving a desired objective: a painstaking technician; the painstaking editing of a manuscript. Careful, the most general in sense of these words, implies serious intent to perform well and accurately whatever task one has in hand: a careful housepainter; a careful study of the social structure of gangs. Meticulous suggests extreme attention to details, especially the most minute, coupled with an almost obsessive desire to avoid error: a meticulous silversmith, every detail finished to perfection; fussily meticulous about matching shoes and clothing. Conscientious stresses scrupulous effort to obey one's sense of moral obligation to perform tasks well: a conscientious public defender; a conscientious description of the robbery. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for painstaking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No science or painstaking can make up for his not doing this.

    Albert Durer T. Sturge Moore
  • Excellence in art, as in everything else, can only be achieved by dint of painstaking labour.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • But there should have been painstaking investigation, even after the fact.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
  • Then it equally concerns them both to be painstaking and prodigal of toil in all their doings?

    The Memorabilia Xenophon
  • This book is the result of painstaking tests and experiments.

    Taxidermy Leon Luther Pray
British Dictionary definitions for painstaking


extremely careful, esp as to fine detail: painstaking research
Derived Forms
painstakingly, adverb
painstakingness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for painstaking

1550s (n.), 1690s (adj.), paynes taking, from plural of pain (n.) + present participle of take (v.). Related: Painstakingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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