• fastidious •
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Excessively meticulous in matters of detail; demanding, exacting. 2. Very difficult to satisfy, haughtily perfectionist in matters of propriety and taste.
Notes: Today we continue our month-long focus on words that are not what they seem to be. This good word has nothing to do with speed, even though there seems to be a reference to speed buried within it. The meaning of today's word should also not be confused with that of meticulous "extremely careful, highly attentive to detail". Fastidious is slightly pejorative, suggesting condescension, being overly meticulous, while meticulous is very positive.
In Play: Today's good word can raise the level of a conversation hanging on words like choosy, finicky, or pernickety, "Dee is so fastidious she puts newspapers under the cuckoo clock." Just remember that today's word means too meticulous, "Thurston is so fastidious at the snooker table, he wipes up every particle of chalk dust almost before it lands."
Word History: This good word comes from a Latin adjective, fastidiosus, from the noun fastidium "arrogance, haughtiness". The noun probably started out its life as a compound of fastus "disdain, arrogance" + tædium "boredom, weariness". English borrowed the latter for its tedium and adjective, tedious. Other relatives are difficult to find.
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I would like to express my gratitude to the good doctor in that he also explains the quality between given synonyms or near synonyms like the above, by explaining that the good word fastidious is a "bad" word comp. to the good word meticulous being a "good" word. Things like that can make a non-native speaker avoid putting his foot in the mouth when trying to say something nice for example.
Beg your pardon for my poor spelling and grammer.
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