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

    Mr. Darcy Comes Out Nicole LaPorte September 15, 2009
Historical Examples
  • Ceremonious etiquette and detail duties were punctiliously observed.

    Mexico Susan Hale
  • They were punctiliously polite, too polite for a horse-ranch outfit.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • The whole ceremony was as regal, as punctiliously observed, as at a royal court where the traditions date from many centuries.

    Freaks of Fanaticism Sabine Baring-Gould
  • The five shillings were most punctiliously returned from this point, which also we left soon.

    My Life Josiah Flynt
  • It is formally correct, punctiliously exact, completely serious, and withal high-minded.

    The Gentle Reader Samuel McChord Crothers
  • punctiliously they saluted, and Clifford strode back to the house.

    Peggy Owen and Liberty Lucy Foster Madison
  • This man, who lied in public as a matter of business, was punctiliously honorable in private life.

    A Book About Lawyers John Cordy Jeaffreson
  • Again, at the door of Room 18, he punctiliously allowed her to precede him.

    Little Aliens Myra Kelly
  • Captain Whalley, opening the matter, was met by a punctiliously polite but determined opposition.

    End of the Tether Joseph Conrad
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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