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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 punctiliousness
Historical Examples
  • It must be confessed that this species of punctiliousness was carried too far.

  • Kilbourne's punctiliousness was exaggerated, but she thought she understood it.

    A Sheaf of Corn Mary E. Mann
  • This punctiliousness about titles has more in it than shews at first sight.

    Sebastian Bach Reginald Lane Poole
  • These embassies were always conducted with punctiliousness and gravity.

    Stover at Yale Owen Johnson
  • And that is the end of the story of the punctiliousness of Don Sebastian.

    Orientations William Somerset Maugham
  • On either side of him stood two men who also greeted me cordially, but without the punctiliousness of the Spaniard.

  • Yet through and in spite of all this she maintained, even to the extreme of punctiliousness, the air of being a visitor at Blent.

    Tristram of Blent Anthony Hope
  • So great is the privacy, and punctiliousness with which female honor is guarded in the East.

    The Hindoos as they Are Shib Chunder Bose
  • These combats were conducted with as much ceremony and punctiliousness as ever graced the duelling-ground.

  • It is easy to smile at her punctiliousness on this score; but after all these years, and on the whole, I think she was right.

    We and the World, Part I Juliana Horatia Ewing
British Dictionary definitions for punctiliousness


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 punctiliousness



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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