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[peynz-tey-king, peyn-stey-] /ˈpeɪnzˌteɪ kɪŋ, ˈpeɪnˌsteɪ-/
taking or characterized by taking, pains or trouble; expending or showing diligent care and effort; careful:
a painstaking craftsman; painstaking research.
careful and diligent effort.
Origin of painstaking
1550-60; pain + -s3 + taking
Related forms
painstakingly, adverb
painstakingness, noun
1. thorough, scrupulous. Painstaking, careful, meticulous, conscientious all describe persons or behavior demonstrating attention to detail and effective task performance. painstaking stresses diligent and assiduous attention to detail in achieving a desired objective: a painstaking technician; the painstaking editing of a manuscript. Careful , the most general in sense of these words, implies serious intent to perform well and accurately whatever task one has in hand: a careful housepainter; a careful study of the social structure of gangs. Meticulous suggests extreme attention to details, especially the most minute, coupled with an almost obsessive desire to avoid error: a meticulous silversmith, every detail finished to perfection; fussily meticulous about matching shoes and clothing. Conscientious stresses scrupulous effort to obey one's sense of moral obligation to perform tasks well: a conscientious public defender; a conscientious description of the robbery. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for painstaking
  • We debate and negotiate the final language with painstaking care, especially the list of desired qualities and experience.
  • These things take years of painstaking work for dialectologists.
  • After two decades of painstaking effort, now he'd be scooped.
  • painstaking research-especially of plant remains found with the body-contradicts many of the initial speculations.
  • Some photographs are happy accidents, others the painstaking result of careful planning and even years of practice.
  • The antibiotics had already killed the bacteria, and several painstaking tests were needed to prove it had ever been there.
  • Keeping a scale in balance can be a painstaking and never-ending task.
  • Global trade negotiations have always been long, painstaking affairs.
  • But even after years of practice and experimentation, her workflow remains breathtakingly painstaking.
  • Charting the world's superlatives is painstaking work.
British Dictionary definitions for painstaking


extremely careful, esp as to fine detail: painstaking research
Derived Forms
painstakingly, adverb
painstakingness, 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 painstaking

1550s (n.), 1690s (adj.), paynes taking, from plural of pain (n.) + present participle of take (v.). Related: Painstakingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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