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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 punctiliously
Contemporary Examples
  • Otherwise, slavish adaptations–being, punctiliously observant adaptations–are likely to be a dead doornail.

    Mr. Darcy Comes Out Nicole LaPorte September 16, 2009
Historical Examples
  • They were punctiliously polite, too polite for a horse-ranch outfit.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • The five shillings were most punctiliously returned from this point, which also we left soon.

    My Life Josiah Flynt
  • Ceremonious etiquette and detail duties were punctiliously observed.


    Susan Hale
  • His external religious duties were most punctiliously performed.

    Rose Clark Fanny Fern
  • punctiliously they saluted, and Clifford strode back to the house.

    Peggy Owen and Liberty Lucy Foster Madison
  • Again, at the door of Room 18, he punctiliously allowed her to precede him.

    Little Aliens

    Myra Kelly
  • All this she felt rather than thought, and she acted on it punctiliously.

    The Continental Dragoon

    Robert Neilson Stephens
  • He had "Mistered" Loring punctiliously ever since Sophy's disclosure.

    Shadows of Flames Amelie Rives
  • We gathered up our note-books and were punctiliously polite.

    Now It Can Be Told Philip Gibbs
British Dictionary definitions for punctiliously


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 punctiliously



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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