Definitions

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

  • adj. Possessing or displaying careful, meticulous attention to detail.
  • adj. Difficult to please; exacting.
  • adj. Excessively scrupulous or sensitive, especially in matters of taste or propriety. See Synonyms at meticulous.
  • adj. Microbiology Having complicated nutritional requirements.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Excessively particular, demanding, or fussy about details, especially about tidiness and cleanliness.
  • adj. Difficult to please; quick to find fault.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Difficult to please; delicate to a fault; suited with difficulty; squeamish

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 1. Such as to cause disgust or loathing; loathsome.
  • Hard or difficult to please; squeamish; over-nice in selecting or discriminating; difficult to suit: as, a fastidious mind or taste.
  • Synonyms Nice, Dainty, etc. See nice.

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

  • adj. having complicated nutritional requirements; especially growing only in special artificial cultures
  • adj. giving careful attention to detail; hard to please; excessively concerned with cleanliness

Etymologies

Middle English, squeamish, particular, haughty, from Old French fastidieux, from Latin fastīdiōsus, from fastīdium, squeamishness, haughtiness, probably from fastus, disdain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin fastidiosus ("passive: that feels disgust, disdainful, scornful, fastidious; active: that causes disgust, disgusting, loathsome"), from fastidium ("a loathing, aversion, disgust, niceness of taste, daintiness, etc."), perhaps for *fastutidium, from fastus ("disdain, haughtiness, arrogance, disgust") + taedium ("disgust"). Confer French fastidieux. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He stopped to wait for the prisoners to pass, his expression fastidious and filled with contempt.

    The Falcons of Montabard

  • Ward had certain fastidious instincts, and he rebelled inwardly at eating, sleeping, and cooking all in one small room.

    The Ranch at the Wolverine

  • His palate is tender, and, in one sense, might be called fastidious; nothing is more sensitive or more easily shocked.

    Penrod and Sam

  • Aware of their importance to herself, she carefully cherished, but never made them subjects of conversation, nor gave the world an opportunity of censuring what they would have termed her fastidious notions; her religious opinions were never obtruded upon slight acquaintance, and it was only her more particular friends who, beside her family, could form any judgment of her principles, save from her moral conduct.

    Yamboo; or, the North American Slave

  • They are called fastidious and I think their problems have something to do with ASD.

    Wrong Planet Asperger / Autism Forums

  • And they'd be especially outraged because the cops hadn't treated me with the kind of fastidious, hands-off politeness that they'd never expect from a retail clerk.

    Only What You Bring With You

  • In the courtyard I saw a little cart, with iron brakes underneath it, such as fastidious people use to deaden the jolting of the road; but few men under a lord or baronet would be so particular.

    Lorna Doone

  • Knight had already indicated a correlation of the need of micro-organisms for "growth-factors" with failure of synthesis, and correlated this failure with evolution, particularly in relation to the complex environment of "fastidious" pathogenic micro-organisms.

    Edward Tatum - Nobel Lecture

  • Ramsey was already dangerously distended, as an effect of the earlier part of her discourse, and the word "fastidious" almost exploded him; but upon the climax, "Dora Yocum," he blew up with a shattering report and, leaving fragments of incoherence ricocheting behind him, fled shuddering from the house.

    Ramsey Milholland

  • Mr Coe said Mrs Laithwaite managed the accounts for their sons' business and described her as "fastidious" with money.

    WalesOnline - Home

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