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[puhngk-choo-uh l] /ˈpʌŋk tʃu əl/
strictly observant of an appointed or regular time; not late; prompt.
made, occurring, etc., at the scheduled or proper time:
punctual payment.
pertaining to or of the nature of a point.
Origin of punctual
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin pūnctuālis of a point, equivalent to Latin pūnctu(s) a point, a pricking (pung(ere) to prick + -tus suffix of v. action) + -ālis -al1; see pungent
Related forms
punctually, adverb
punctualness, noun
nonpunctual, adjective
nonpunctually, adverb
nonpunctualness, noun
unpunctual, adjective
unpunctually, adverb
unpunctualness, noun
Can be confused
punctilious, punctual. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unpunctual
Historical Examples
  • Others waited for unpunctual friends with protesting and frequent examination of their watches.

    The Man Who Knew Edgar Wallace
  • But of all men alive Dolly Longstaff was the most unpunctual.

    The Duke's Children Anthony Trollope
  • Five minutes had hardly gone by when he looked at his watch, thinking Marian must be unpunctual.

    New Grub Street George Gissing
  • There's tea laid—you've let it get cold, unpunctual ruffian.

    The King of Schnorrers Israel Zangwill
  • Austin was very penitent, and promised he'd never be unpunctual again if he lived to be a hundred.

    Austin and His Friends Frederic H. Balfour
  • Mr. Waffles, like many men with nothing to do, was most unpunctual.

  • Ignorant of these happenings, Obadiah angrily awaited an answer from his unpunctual servants.

    The Triumph of Virginia Dale John Francis, Jr.
  • And, on the other hand, too many persons seem to feel themselves at liberty to be unpunctual in an appointment with an inferior.

  • "It's not like Castellan to be unpunctual," said the Prime Minister.

    A Cabinet Secret Guy Boothby
  • "Virgin modesty makes her unpunctual," said Belle, putting up his eye-glass.

British Dictionary definitions for unpunctual


arriving or taking place at an arranged time; prompt
(of a person) having the characteristic of always keeping to arranged times, as for appointments, meetings, etc
(obsolete) precise; exact; apposite
(maths) consisting of or confined to a point in space
Derived Forms
punctuality, noun
punctually, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin punctuālis concerning detail, from Latin punctum point
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 unpunctual

1740, from un- (1) "not" + punctual.



c.1400, from Medieval Latin punctualis, from Latin punctus "a pricking" (see point (n.)). Originally "having a sharp point; of the nature of a point;" meaning "prompt" first recorded 1670s, from notion of "insisting on fine points." Related: Punctually.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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