Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 7, 2021 is:

meticulous • muh-TIK-yuh-lus  • adjective

: marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details


“He wasn’t much for drafting legislation, but Eliot was meticulous about royal etiquette, which included getting all the Fillorian hunting protocol exactly right.” — Lev Grossman, The Magician King, 2011

“In a press release, the company touts its meticulous approach to the sandwich’s creation—testing pickles with eight variations of thickness and more than 10 bun recipes with six different bakeries.” — Alicia Kelso, Forbes, 7 Jan. 2021

Did you know?

It may surprise you to learn that meticulous is derived from the Latin word for “fearful”—meticulosus—and ultimately comes from the Latin noun metus, meaning “fear.” Although meticulous currently has no “fearful” meanings, it was originally used as a synonym of “frightened” and “timid.” This sense had fallen into disuse by 1700, and in the 19th century meticulous acquired a new sense of “overly and timidly careful” (probably influenced by the French word méticuleux). This in turn led to the current meaning of “painstakingly careful,” with no connotations of fear at all. The newest use was controversial among some usage commentators at first, but it has since become by far the most common meaning and is no longer considered an error.

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