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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 punctiliously

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

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

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • The five shillings were most punctiliously returned from this point, which also we left soon.

    My Life

    Josiah Flynt

  • Ceremonious etiquette and detail duties were punctiliously observed.


    Susan Hale

  • His external religious duties were most punctiliously performed.

    Rose Clark

    Fanny Fern

  • Punctiliously they saluted, and Clifford strode back to the house.

    Peggy Owen and Liberty

    Lucy Foster Madison

British Dictionary definitions for punctiliously


  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 punctiliously



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