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

  • adj. Extremely careful and precise.
  • adj. Extremely or excessively concerned with details.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Timid, fearful, overly cautious.
  • adj. Characterized by very precise, conscientious attention to details.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Timid; fearful.
  • adj. Taking great care to get every detail correct; working thoroughly and with precision.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Timid; over-careful.

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

  • adj. marked by precise accordance with details
  • adj. marked by extreme care in treatment of details


From Latin metīculōsus, timid, from metus, fear.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin meticulōsus ("full of fear, timid, fearful, terrible, frightful"), from metus ("fear") and -culōsus, extracted from perīculōsus ("perilous"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Worrrrrd: To sionnach AND sarra; well played articulation.

    May 21, 2009

  • So boisterosity? fastidiosity? gregariosity? studiosity? nervosity? obnoxiosity? piteosity? stupendosity? tenuosity? (aptly) ridiculosity?

    December 2, 2008

  • Those dopey Times reviewers. EVeryone knows the word is meticulosity.

    Think about it:

    curious -- curiosity
    generous -- generosity
    pompous -- pomposity
    viscous -- viscosity
    heterozygous - heterozygosity
    monstrous -- monstrosity
    ingenious -- ingeniosity
    fabulous -- fabulosity
    fuliginous -- fuliginosity
    religious -- religiosity

    etc etc

    December 1, 2008

  • "Don’t take a perfectly good word and give it a new backside so it functions as something else. The New York Times does this all the time. Instead of saying, 'as a director, she is meticulous,' the reviewer will write, 'as a director, she is known for her meticulousness.' Until she is known for her obtuseness."
    - Pat Holt, 'The Ten Mistakes'.

    December 1, 2008

  • Originally meant fearful, timid. Evolution: the fearful and timid tend to be very careful in the details of their lives.

    March 29, 2008