Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Strictly attentive to minute details of form in action or conduct. See Synonyms at meticulous.
  • adj. Precise; scrupulous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Strictly attentive to detail; meticulous or fastidious, particularly to codes or conventions.
  • adj. Precise or scrupulous; finicky or nitpicky.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Attentive to punctilio; very nice or exact in the forms of behavior, etiquette, or mutual intercourse; precise; exact in the smallest particulars.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Attentive to punctilios; very nice or precise in behavior, ceremony, or intercourse; exact (sometimes, to excess) in the observance of rules or forms prescribed by law or custom.
  • Synonyms Particular, precise, scrupulous.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. marked by precise accordance with details

Etymologies

From punctilio +‎ -ous (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It is no accident that the word "punctilious" ( "attentive to formality or etiquette") comes from the same original root word as punctuation.

    Breakfast in Bed

  • In conduct, this animus expressed itself in a kind of punctilious propriety.

    Robert Browning

  • I made no complaint, but Wolf Larsen demanded the most punctilious sea etiquette in my case, — far more than poor Johansen had ever received; and at the expense of several rows, threats, and much grumbling, he brought the hunters to time.

    Chapter 16

  • He had punctilious but easy manners and a nice dry sense of humor.

    A Covert Affair

  • Many Wyoming entities and businesses are punctilious about rules.

    Bird Cloud

  • Dan Neil/The Wall Street Journal Ferrari FF: Sort of cool, sort of not One of the more endearing acts of journalism I've seen was William Safire's occasional "On Language" mea culpa, a column in which the famed word maven would admit to errors and misjudgments—throwing himself on the pikes of the punctilious, as he might say.

    A Showroom of Regrets: What I Got Wrong in 2011

  • Mr. Abbas may also see the U.N. gambit as a cost-free exercise, since the international community including Israel and the U.S. hasn't exactly been punctilious in holding Palestinians to account for violating their diplomatic or political undertakings.

    The Palestinian Statehood Gambit

  • And, while the next punctilious legal wrangle between the attorneys interrupted his tale of what happened in the Vendome, Carter Watson, without bitterness, amused and at the same time sad, saw rise before him the machine, large and small, that dominated his country, the unpunished and shameless grafts of a thousand cities perpetrated by the spidery and vermin-like creatures of the machines.

    The Benefit of the Doubt

  • Elder uses the original version of the score, as performed at the premiere in Vienna in 1843, but, punctilious as ever, the Opera Rara set also includes the extra material that Donizetti composed when he revised the score, before it reached Paris later the same year.

    Donizetti: Maria di Rohan – review

  • Mr. Sims does, of course, think beyond pure technique, and his research is always punctilious and often portentous.

    A Nobel for Non-Keynesians

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