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From Latin fastīdiōsus (passive: that feels disgust, disdainful, scornful, fastidious; active: that causes disgust, disgusting, loathsome), from fastīdium (a loathing, aversion, disgust, niceness of taste, daintiness, etc.), perhaps for *fastutidium, from fastus (disdain, haughtiness, arrogance, disgust) + taedium (disgust). Cf. French fastidieux.


  • IPA(key): /fæˈstɪdi.əs/, /fəˈstɪdi.əs/
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fastidious (comparative more fastidious, superlative most fastidious)

  1. Excessively particular, demanding, or fussy about details, especially about tidiness and cleanliness.
    Synonyms: exacting, fussy, meticulous, niggly, pernickety; see also Thesaurus:fastidious
    • 2003, Lynsay Sands, Single White Vampire:
      He had at first tried to clean up as they ate, his fastidious nature kicking in, but Chris had told him to just stop, he was blocking the TV.
    • 2004, Maria Osborne Perr, Ravished Wings[1]:
      As she cleaned the room daily, she knew it was against his fastidious nature to bring or have food in his room.
    • 2008, Robert Fisher, Memory Road[2]:
      His fastidious nature had been evident in his careful snipping of a customer's hair and now he guided his pencil with the same adroitness.
  2. Overly concerned about tidiness and cleanliness.
    • 2010, Debra Lee Baldwin, Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care ...[3]:
      "If you are fastidious, clean previously used pots inside and out; if not, merely clean the outside (unless you are battling a pest infestation; then the inside will need scrubbing as well)."
  3. Difficult to please; quick to find fault.
    • 1908, Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady (The Novels and Tales of Henry James), New York edition, volume (please specify |volume=I or II), Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, →OCLC; republished as The Portrait of a Lady (EBook #283), United States: Project Gutenberg, 1 September 2001:
      You're too fastidious, and too indolent, and too rich.
    • 1897, Kate Chopin, The Lilies:
      "It's burn[t], M'sieur," said Marie Louise, politely, but decidedly, to the utter confusion of Mr. Billy, who was as mortified as could be at the failure of his dinner to please his fastidious little visitor.

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