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  1. extremely attentive to punctilios; strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions.
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Origin of punctilious

First recorded in 1625–35; punctili(o) + -ous
Related formspunc·til·i·ous·ly, adverbpunc·til·i·ous·ness, nounun·punc·til·i·ous, adjectiveun·punc·til·i·ous·ly, adverbun·punc·til·i·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedpunctilious punctual


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for punctilious

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Indeed I think you are too punctilious a great deal for you situation.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • The detectives had been punctilious to avoid ruffling the sensibilities of any and all.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • What he discovered justified all the years of punctilious discharge of his duties.

    The Stutterer

    R.R. Merliss

  • Their relation had never been sentimental, but he had always been punctilious.

    The Coast of Chance

    Esther Chamberlain

  • Now Pitt was neat and punctilious in his attire, but he was no dandy.

British Dictionary definitions for punctilious


  1. paying scrupulous attention to correctness in etiquette
  2. attentive to detail
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Derived Formspunctiliously, adverbpunctiliousness, 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

Word Origin and History for punctilious


1630s, probably from Italian puntiglioso, from puntiglio "fine point," from Latin punctum "prick" (see point (n.)). Related: Punctiliously; punctiliousness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper