An example of something painstaking is a project requiring students to count every frame in a three hour long movie, a painstaking project.
- taking pains; very careful; diligent
- characterized by great care
- 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)