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Italian puntiglio, or Spanish puntillo, diminutive from Latin punctum (point).


  • IPA(key): /pʌŋkˈtɪliˌoʊ/


punctilio (plural punctilios)

  1. A fine point in exactness of conduct, ceremony or procedure. Strictness in observance of formalities.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, Episode 16
      All those wretched quarrels, in his humble opinion, stirring up bad blood, from some bump of combativeness or gland of some kind, erroneously supposed to be about a punctilio of honour and a flag,...
    • 1988, Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming Pool Library, Penguin Books (1988), page 254
      Covert gestures of kindness saved me from trouble, or explained the punctilio of some futile but unavoidable chore.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.

Derived terms[edit]