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[puhngk-til-ee-uh s] /pʌŋkˈtɪl i əs/
extremely attentive to punctilios; strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions.
Origin of punctilious
First recorded in 1625-35; punctili(o) + -ous
Related forms
punctiliously, adverb
punctiliousness, noun
unpunctilious, adjective
unpunctiliously, adverb
unpunctiliousness, noun
Can be confused
punctilious, punctual.
precise, demanding; careful, conscientious. See scrupulous.
careless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for punctilious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Indeed I think you are too punctilious a great deal for you situation.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The detectives had been punctilious to avoid ruffling the sensibilities of any and all.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • What he discovered justified all the years of punctilious discharge of his duties.

    The Stutterer R.R. Merliss
  • Their relation had never been sentimental, but he had always been punctilious.

    The Coast of Chance Esther Chamberlain
  • Now Pitt was neat and punctilious in his attire, but he was no dandy.

    William Pitt and the Great War John Holland Rose
  • She greeted him with punctilious civility, but with manner as distant as her words were few.

    Waring's Peril Charles King
  • "As you please, then," he continued, readjusting his garments with punctilious care.

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
  • The Republic was punctilious abroad, and no less so at home.

British Dictionary definitions for punctilious


paying scrupulous attention to correctness in etiquette
attentive to detail
Derived Forms
punctiliously, adverb
punctiliousness, 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 punctilious

1630s, probably from Italian puntiglioso, from puntiglio "fine point," from Latin punctum "prick" (see point (n.)). Related: Punctiliously; punctiliousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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