- taking pains; very careful; diligent
- characterized by great care
An example of something painstaking is a project requiring students to count every frame in a three hour long movie, a painstaking project.
- Acting with, showing, or involving great care and attention. See Synonyms at meticulous.
- Usage Problem Attended by difficulties; arduous.
Usage Note: Painstaking is a compound of pains and taking, though it often sounds as if it were made from pain and staking. A painstaking effort is one in which someone takes pains to do something right. The word is sometimes used to mean “arduous” or “difficult,” almost as if it meant “painful,” but this usage is widely considered to be a mistake. In our 2008 survey, 74 percent of the Usage Panel rejected the sentence Traveling by bus through such a huge country was a painstaking ordeal.
(comparative more painstaking, superlative most painstaking)
- The vestment was a monument of careful and painstaking research, profusely illustrated.
- The object to be lacquered, which is generally made of thin white pine, is subjected to singularly thorough and painstaking treatment.
- His good-conduct notes for this period describe him as "docile, patient, diligent, painstaking, thorough."
- Princess Mary well knew this painstaking expression of her father's.
- The result of their efforts was laid before parliament in one of the most monumental and most painstaking preambles ever prefixed to a bill.