Word of the Day Archive
Friday August 20, 2004
punctilio \punk-TIL-ee-oh\ , noun:
1. A fine point of exactness in conduct, ceremony, or procedure.
2. Strictness or exactness in the observance of formalities; as, "the punctilios of a public ceremony."
His godmother, Mary Delany, however, while acknowledging Garret Wesley's musical talents, found him rather deficient in 'the punctilios of good breeding', and had consequently been much gratified when he announced that he was to marry Lady Louisa Augusta Lennox, daughter of the second Duke of Richmond.
-- Christopher Hibbert, Wellington: A Personal History
The utmost in punctilio was observed as each side was retired scoreless for two innings.
-- Red Smith, Red Smith on Baseball
Unbending on protocol and punctilio, the Emperor, in his public appearances, recalled the splendor and opulence of Suleiman the Magnificent or Louis XIV, with the difference that he lived and worked in a modern atmosphere and journeyed abroad in a commandeered Ethiopian Airlines plane.
-- Alden Whitman, "Haile Selassie of Ethiopia Dies at 83", New York Times, August 28, 1975
Punctilio comes from Obsolete Italian punctiglio, from Spanish puntillo, diminutive of punto, "point," from Latin punctum, from pungere, "to prick."