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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for punctilious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This reference, which was receive with smiles by the Imperial Parliament, was certain to irritate a punctilious republic.

    Penguin Island Anatole France
  • The Republic was punctilious abroad, and no less so at home.

  • Tom saw through the punctilious feints and solemn stratagems clearly; Dora did the same as plainly.

    A Houseful of Girls Sarah Tytler
  • punctilious on all points of honor, they sought but one reward—victory.

  • An old, gray-haired butler stood on the threshold, and greeted them with rather pompous respect and punctilious deference.

    Patty's Friends Carolyn Wells
  • Indeed I think you are too punctilious a great deal for you situation.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Who can establish the punctilious ratio between necessity and desire?

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

    The Stutterer R.R. Merliss
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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