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[puhngk-til-ee-uh s] /pʌŋkˈtɪl i əs/
extremely attentive to punctilios; strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions.
Origin of punctilious
1625-35; punctili(o) + -ous
Related forms
punctiliously, adverb
punctiliousness, noun
unpunctilious, adjective
unpunctiliously, adverb
unpunctiliousness, noun
Can be confused
punctilious, punctual.
precise, demanding; careful, conscientious. See scrupulous.
careless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for punctiliousness
Historical Examples
  • And that is the end of the story of the punctiliousness of Don Sebastian.

    Orientations William Somerset Maugham
  • Kilbourne's punctiliousness was exaggerated, but she thought she understood it.

    A Sheaf of Corn Mary E. Mann
  • Singularly enough, too, the punctiliousness of our officers contributed to the same end.

  • It must be confessed that this species of punctiliousness was carried too far.

  • She shook her head slightly to indicate a mild degree of impatience with his punctiliousness about that blessed door.

    Joan Thursday Louis Joseph Vance
  • This punctiliousness about titles has more in it than shews at first sight.

    Sebastian Bach Reginald Lane Poole
  • Since there is so little besides the form to be complied with, I see the greater necessity for punctiliousness in observing that.

    A Manifest Destiny Julia Magruder
  • These embassies were always conducted with punctiliousness and gravity.

    Stover at Yale Owen Johnson
  • Meadows for a moment felt a chill of fear at the punctiliousness of revenge in this Oriental whom he had made his enemy.

  • On either side of him stood two men who also greeted me cordially, but without the punctiliousness of the Spaniard.

British Dictionary definitions for punctiliousness


paying scrupulous attention to correctness in etiquette
attentive to detail
Derived Forms
punctiliously, adverb
punctiliousness, 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 punctiliousness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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