Definition of punctilious in English:



  • Showing great attention to detail or correct behaviour:

    ‘he was punctilious in providing every amenity for his guests’
    • ‘The Talmudic reading load imposed by a punctilious and politically depressed lefty professor on hapless grad students is, of course, the least of the burdens of newly enhanced conservative rule.’
    • ‘As long as the Lord Chancellor is punctilious in keeping his separate roles distinct, the separation of powers is not undermined and the justice system benefits immeasurably.’
    • ‘I'm not very punctilious about putting links in my blog.’
    • ‘Although ex-servicemen like Malcolm still wear formal dress at breakfast, others aren't so punctilious, and a notice has recently been sent out suggesting appropriate styles.’
    • ‘He became punctilious about small things-bills should be paid and returned the same day they were received-and unconcerned about large ones.’
    • ‘In an age when so much else has descended into degeneracy, the observance of both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday remains as punctilious as ever.’
    • ‘Of course I can fully understand the punctilious security in the US at the present time, even more so in light of recent events in Sweden, so part of me was relieved that they were taking so much care.’
    • ‘One thing about Vollmann's fan base: they were punctilious in their temperament.’
    • ‘A punctilious listing of every detail produces prose that is prolix.’
    • ‘To some people, I suspect, she came to embody the negative image of the copy editor: punctilious, schoolmarmish and blue-stockinged.’
    • ‘On the contrary, it has a playful attraction to form, particularly rhyme and meter - in fact, the tighter the rules, and the more punctilious and arbitrary the enforcement, the happier nonsense is.’
    • ‘So punctilious was Lord Mackay that civil servants were instructed not to pass on ‘political’ messages on his behalf.’
    • ‘Negligent he may have been in his personal appearance and his domestic arrangements but he was also pragmatic, punctilious and a stickler for detail.’
    • ‘But the methodology is painstakingly punctilious due to the heavy editing involved.’
    • ‘As a teenager he was not particularly punctilious in following the observances of his religion.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, a less than punctilious treatment of particulars may have more to do with expedience.’
    • ‘For a punctilious lack of wit (he prefers sarcasm) and a simultaneous devotion to moralism (as opposed to morality), few can match him.’
    • ‘In ordinary conversations, this means punctilious use of words like please, thank you, may I?’
    • ‘There is an interesting comparison here with Hitler, who was famously kind and considerate in his own official ‘family’, punctilious with flowers and chocolates on birthdays and anniversaries.’
    • ‘He has always been punctilious in allowing witnesses to say what they want to say; he has never interrupted except on points of clarification.’
    meticulous, conscientious, careful, diligent, attentive, ultra-careful, scrupulous, painstaking, exact, precise, accurate, correct, thorough, studious, rigorous, mathematical, detailed, perfectionist, methodical, particular, religious, strict
    fussy, fastidious, hair-splitting, finicky, finical, demanding, exacting, pedantic
    nitpicking, pernickety
    nice, overnice, laborious
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from French pointilleux, from pointille, from Italian puntiglio (see punctilio).