With the Passing of Time


Posted on: May 15, 2009

\SKROO-pyuh-lus\ | adjective

1 : having moral integrity : acting in strict regard for what is considered right or proper
2 : punctiliously exact : painstaking

Screw scrupulous. Just look at ‘punctiliously.’ What a fantastic word that is: punctilious. Marked by or concerned about precise accordance with the details of codes or conventions.

Seriously, say it out loud a few times. Isn’t it grand? I’m a little disappointed that you have to go back four pages before you find something that’s either not a definition, related to some thoroughbred horse, or connected to World of Warcraft (apparently you can pick up something called Punctilious Bindings; it improves both your spell power and your haste rating; looks more like a knock off of Wonder Woman’s wrist bands to me).

I think we need to reclaim this word. Use it everywhere we can think of. Walk up to perfect strangers who are impeccably dressed and coifed and say, “My, aren’t you punctiliously attired today.” Or in reverse, approach people who, like me, look like they’ve just rolled out of bed and say, “It’s wonderful to see there are still people so unconcerned with the arbitrary punctilious standards of this society.”

Look, a wonderful find thanks to punctilious: Wordie, a place you can create lists of words and phrases, talk about words, find random words. A site to celebrate language. Will be joining and bookmarking post haste.

“It’s the punctilious attention to detail, in a time when nobody even bothers to get the spelling of your name right.”
I’m not sure what she’s referring to, but it sounds like a compliment to me. This from Holly Brubach who herself looks quite punctiliously attired in the pictures I found of her.

“His courtesy was somewhat extravagant. He would write and thank people who wrote to thank him for wedding presents and when he encountered anyone as punctilious as himself the correspondence ended only with death.”
I don’t know if this is from a book or just a statement that Evelyn Waugh made, but it makes me laugh. How many different ways can you say “thank you” for a thank you? I almost want to write a story about that.

Further proof that punctilious is an awesome word. Thanks to Wordie I found a lovely picture of two dancers:

© Amitava Sarkar; please click for original article

In 2007 the Houston Ballet premiered a dance called Punctilious of which this is one still; there are others on the page. The article was written and pictures taken during a dress rehearsal and was the first time the dancers had performed the piece with a live orchestra. How cool would it be to see a dance company’s dress rehearsal? Somehow it seems more exciting than watching a dress rehearsal for a play, possibly because it feels like actors respond to the audience more than perhaps dancers do, so there wouldn’t be that extra something that can make a good play really great. Or I could be talking completely through my hat, who knows.

And one more find: an artist with a set of drawings she’s labeled “I’m punctilious.” I don’t know if it’s a punctilious representation of pointillism (see how fun it is to throw that word in all the time?) but there are some very nice examples here. Not all to my liking, but you should check out the set. This one is possibly my favorite. I love the movement; it makes me think of music.

© 2009 With the Passing of Time


2 Responses to "Scrupulous"

Aw, this was a very nice post. In idea I wish to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and precise effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and in no way seem to get one thing done.

Thank you! I enjoyed doing these daily words.

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Willingness to join soil, sound, hands; memory follows me ~ Viggo Mortensen
May 2009
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Daily words come from Merriam-Webster's word of the day. All rambling comes from my head.


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