Definitions

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

  • n. A fine point of etiquette.
  • n. Precise observance of formalities.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fine point in exactness of conduct, ceremony or procedure. Strictness in observance of formalities.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A nice point of exactness in conduct, ceremony, or proceeding; particularity or exactness in forms.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small point.
  • n. A nice point, especially in conduct, ceremony, or proceeding; also, particularity or exactness in the observance of forms.

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

  • n. a fine point of etiquette or petty formality
  • n. strict observance of formalities

Etymologies

Obsolete Italian punctiglio, from Spanish puntillo, diminutive of punto, point, from Latin pūnctum, from neuter past participle of pungere, to prick; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Italian puntiglio, or Spanish puntillo, diminutive from Latin punctum point. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A short run or attempt at running after the idea, ended in pain to his head near the spot where the haunting word punctilio caught at any excuse for clamouring.

    One of Our Conquerors — Volume 1

  • In connection with this ritualistic form of punctilio, which is noticed in the religious practices of other peoples and lands, the established formal invocation of and prayer to the divinity may be mentioned.

    Eighth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1886-1887, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1891

  • I was also influenced by religious motives that suggested to me the necessity of living to atone, by my sufferings and sorrow, for the guilt I had incurred in complying with a savage punctilio, which is, I fear, displeasing in the sight of Heaven.

    The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom — Complete

  • It has some slow bits, and some prolonged bouts of humor Tom's lovesickness, his punctilio about make-believe that have to have felt at least a little labored even back in 1876, when it often took weeks or even months for a punchline to arrive.

    Michael Chabon On The N-Word In 'Huckleberry Finn'

  • All that those words imply, including a disregard for military tradition and punctilio, the objective of dismantling an enemy and not merely defeating him, and downright ruthlessness, can be found in the battles of the Great Warpath.

    America's Distinctive Way of War

  • In jail after an unwise decision, he contemplates "the Miocene logic and cruel outcomes afflicting all those with pluck but no punctilio."

    The Style of a Wild Man

  • If we think for a moment about why Cardozo goes to such lengths to define a standard of behavior grounded in "a punctilio of an honor the most sensitive," we realize that a market economy (or we might add, a viable democracy) depends critically on fiduciaries making decisions - millions everyday - for countless of beneficiaries.

    Nancy F. Koehn: Leaders and Fiduciaries

  • Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive, is then the standard of behavior.

    Nancy F. Koehn: Leaders and Fiduciaries

  • Wikipedia on the other hand has a stab at it exclusively for rhotics, judging by the punctilio of the ɨ: juːˈtɒksɨtər.

    Abergavenny, etc | Linguism | Language Blog

  • With considerable punctilio, he then called for the garrison doctor, and had him certify officially that Jamie was fit enough to be flogged.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

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Comments

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  • But why does it do that? http://wordie.org/people/comments/chained_bear?o=10865, for example, currently works for me, so why are certain values of o breaking?

    October 22, 2008

  • Crud. Thanks c_b. I feel like my slip is showing.

    October 22, 2008

  • psst... jennarenn... I think you meant to link to this page. Your link gives an app. error.

    October 22, 2008

  • Oh, and then you click the arrow to see the previous hundred comments. Here is my first comment. I like seeing what I was talking about back then. :)

    October 22, 2008

  • Somebody called for the Wordie Historian? Here is c_b's first comment. Clearly, I don't want to do work. :P In the future, just change the numbers in the URL to match the person's comment count. Takes 2 seconds. :) Oh, and c_b don't delete it! It's part of wordieternity!

    October 22, 2008

  • No, but it might be near the first.

    I should delete it.

    October 12, 2008

  • Is this chained_bear's first comment?

    October 11, 2008

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Punctilio

    Daily Punctilio, anyone?

    August 31, 2007

  • Funny... I told my S.O. about this site and the first thing he said was, "You should add punctilio."

    And *I* said, "Guess you need to log on and start a list."

    February 2, 2007