Punctilious means showing great attention to detail or correct behavior.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



meticulous, scrupulous, careful, conscientious, exact, precise, fastidious


careless, negligent, sloppy, casual, easy-going

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun punctiliousnesses, punctiliousness
Verb None
Adjective punctilious
Adverb punctiliously

Example Sentences

  • He is a punctilious editor who never lets a typo slip by.

  • The bride was punctilious about every detail of her wedding, from the floral arrangements to the seating chart.

  • As a surgeon, she was punctilious in following every step of the procedure to ensure the best outcome for her patients.

  • The accountant was punctilious in keeping track of every penny and always double-checked her calculations.


Punctilious is often used to describe someone who is meticulous about following rules or guidelines, or who pays close attention to details. The word can also be used to describe someone who is precise in their work or behavior, and who always strives for perfection.

The word punctilious comes from the Latin word “punctum,” which means point. It is often used in formal contexts to describe people who are very particular about adhering to rules, guidelines, or customs, especially in social situations. A punctilious person may be very concerned about manners, etiquette, and social protocol.

In some cases, the word punctilious can have a negative connotation, suggesting that someone is overly formal or rigid in their behavior. However, in most cases, it is used as a compliment, suggesting that someone is careful and conscientious in their work or behavior.

The word punctilious is sometimes confused with the word “meticulous,” which has a similar meaning. However, meticulous suggests a focus on accuracy and attention to detail, while punctilious suggests a focus on following rules and social norms. Both words are used to describe people who are careful and thorough in their work, but punctilious specifically refers to someone who is attentive to social conventions and etiquette.