taking or showing extreme care about minute details; precise; thorough: a meticulous craftsman; meticulous personal appearance.
finicky; fussy: meticulous adherence to technicalities.

Origin of meticulous

1525–35; < Latin metīculōsus full of fear, fearful, equivalent to metī- for metū- (stem of metus fear) + -culōsus, extracted from perīculōsus perilous
Related formsme·tic·u·lous·ly, adverbme·tic·u·lous·ness, me·tic·u·los·i·ty [muh-tik-yuh-los-i-tee] /məˌtɪk yəˈlɒs ɪ ti/, nounun·me·tic·u·lous, adjectiveun·me·tic·u·lous·ly, adverbun·me·tic·u·lous·ness, noun

Synonyms for meticulous

Synonym study

1. See painstaking.

Antonyms for meticulous

1, 2. careless. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for meticulous

Contemporary Examples of meticulous

Historical Examples of meticulous

  • At least in his early works, he was meticulous in his research.

  • He was a thin and meticulous man, and he operated his ship with mechanical perfection.

    Death Wish

    Robert Sheckley

  • It is impossible to give you an idea of such a meticulous neatness.


    Joseph Conrad

  • Casey nervously undid a shoelace, retieing it with meticulous care.


    Charles Goff Thomson

  • They spare him the trouble of meticulous investigation of unimportant facts.

    Days Off

    Henry Van Dyke

British Dictionary definitions for meticulous



very precise about details, even trivial ones; painstaking
Derived Formsmeticulously, adverbmeticulousness, noun

Word Origin for meticulous

C16 (meaning: timid): from Latin meticulōsus fearful, from metus fear
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

Word Origin and History for meticulous

1530s, "fearful, timid," from Latin meticulosus "fearful, timid," literally "full of fear," from metus "fear, dread, apprehension, anxiety," of unknown origin. Sense of "fussy about details" is first recorded in English 1827, from French méticuleux "timorously fussy." Related: Meticulosity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper